Kobe Bryant youngest to 30,000
By Dave McMenamin | ESPNLosAngeles.com
NEW ORLEANS -- Kobe Bryant's ultimate place amongst basketball's greats may be up for debate. But there is no denying Bryant's spot as one of the all-time best scorers after he became the youngest player in NBA history to reach 30,000 career points Wednesday.
Lakers star Kobe Bryant became the youngest player in NBA history to score 30,000 points, reaching the milestone on a slashing right-handed runner late in the second quarter against the Hornets on Wednesday night.
Bryant made a slashing right-handed runner in the lane with 1:16 remaining in the second quarter against the New Orleans Hornets, giving him 30,001 career points at just 34 years, 104 days old.
Bryant surpassed Wilt Chamberlain's previous record of 35 years, 179 days. The Los Angeles Lakers star scored 17 points in the first half against the Hornets, who owned a 48-47 halftime lead.
Bryant joins Chamberlain (31,419 points), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), Karl Malone (36,928) and Michael Jordan (32,292) as the only five players in NBA history to reach the 30,000-point plateau.
"It's a huge honor to say the least," Bryant said earlier this week as he approached the milestone. "Whenever you're hearing those kind of names and you think about the amount of players that have played this game and to be in that kind of company, it's always extremely, extremely special."
NBA commissioner David Stern was present at New Orleans Arena to witness Bryant's achievement.
"I want to shake his hand. I think Kobe is, as a talent and a competitor, he's up there on the pedestal with Michael Jordan as one of the greatest," Stern told reporters before the game. "Kobe has such an extraordinary run playing at the highest level for so long with the championships to prove it in a league that is extremely competitive.
"Kobe and the Lakers have been an important part of the league, and I wish him well for this season and beyond."
Bryant was the fifth-fastest player -- in terms of games played -- to reach the milestone, needing 1,179. Chamberlain was the fastest at 941 games, followed by Jordan (960), Abdul-Jabbar (1,101) and Malone (1,152). Bryant also was the youngest player to reach the 20,000-point mark.
"That just means he's old. He's played a lot," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni joked before the game. "I think it's great. Not many people can get that achievement. That's something he's earned and deservedly so. That's great."
Four of the five names of the 30,000-point list played for the Lakers at one point of their career, a fact not lost on Bryant, who has spent all 17 years of his career suiting up for the purple and gold.
"This is a franchise, like I've said in the past, guys whose jerseys hang up in the rafters are some of the all-time greats," Bryant said earlier this week. "Not just greats for the franchise. I don't know if there's any other organization that can say that."