Kobe Bryant prior to Sunday night's game against the Wolves.
David Sherman/NBAE/Getty Images

Kobe Bryant Passes Michael Jordan On All-Time Scoring List

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager

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Getting to watch Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant is always pretty special. The 19-year veteran has given us memories of him flying through the air and fading away from the basket.

On Sunday night at the Target Center, Bryant gave us another memory as he passed Michael Jordan (the man who he is compared to most) on the all-time scoring list. Bryant needed eight points coming in to tie Jordan and nine to pass him. Being Bryant has averaged 25 points per game this season (the most from any player in his 19th season), this seemed like a matter of when, not if.

After four first-quarter points, Bryant was taken out of the game. He came back in with 6:28 left in the second quarter. Fifteen seconds later, Bryant drilled a three-pointer. Less than a minute later, Bryant was fouled by Wolves rookie Zach LaVine, giving basketball fans a second to breathe before Bryant got the opportunity to tie and pass Jordan. 

Bryant made the first free throw, getting life-long basketball fans on their feet. He then hit the second one, passing Jordan while getting a standing ovation from the Target Center.

The game was stopped for about a minute, Bryant was recognized by the fans and there was a graphic honoring the future Hall of Famer on the big screen. Wolves owner Glen Taylor even came out and handed Bryant a "game" ball for what Bryant has done for the NBA.

"Someone asked me about Kobe [Bryant] and asked if I could describe him in one word," Wolves head coach Flip Saunders said about Bryant before the game. "I would say competitiveness. It's competitiveness that drives him in the offseason to work to be able to play at the level he plays. It's competitiveness during games that allows him to dominate offensively and defensively. It's competitiveness of wanting to win where he'll challenge teammates if need be and he'll do whatever it takes to try and get that edge."

Bryant said postgame that when he was younger, Jordan was obviously a player he looked up to. To pass him in career points, well, that was certainly a feeling Bryant hasn't felt before. What might have been stranger for him, though, was the ovation he got from an away crowd.

"It was different," Bryant said. "I'm so used to being the villain all the time wherever I go. It took a minute to kind of adjust. It felt good to be appreciated."

He can rest-assured that he's certainly appreciated in the NBA for what he's done not only for the Lakers, but what he's done internationally to grow the game.

Bryant hit a big three-pointer (naturally) down the stretch to ice the game for the Lakers. He finished with 26 points, six rebounds and two assists.

He's now looking up at Karl Malone (36,928 points) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points) on the all-time scoring list. 

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