Kobe Bryant Passing Michael Jordan’s NBA Scoring Mark a Bittersweet Affair

For all of the unbelievable entries on Kobe Bryant's legendary NBA resume, his latest might be the most difficult to process.

Passing Hall of Famer Michael Jordan to reach third on the league's all-time scoring list, as he did with a pair of foul shots at the 5:24 mark of the second quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Dec. 14, shows both how far Bryant has traveled—and how little is left of his basketball journey.

It's a bittersweet moment for the offensive assassin known as the Black Mamba.

On one hand, the basketball world is ready to celebrate a feat of historic proportions, a generational accomplishment no one can ever take from him. But a brutally honest assessment of his situation and that of the Los Angeles Lakers shows this could be the last major triumph of his storied career.


The Achievement

Of all the players to have ever graced the NBA hardwood, only two have more career points than Kobe Bryant. No matter which angle is used to view that fact, it's mind-numbingly impressive.

Unless, apparently, if you're Bryant himself.

"I only think about it when I am asked about it," Bryant said earlier this month, per Sporting News' Sean Deveney. "I just go out there and play."

Publicly, Bryant kept it cool while approaching the mark. But those close to him know there is a far greater appreciation for this moment than he has let on.

"I know it's big for him" Lakers guard Nick Young said, per Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles. "He can say what he wants but I know he looks at it and to beat someone you look up to is a great feeling."

Bryant is a student of the game. While he lists Jordan as a basketball influence, Bryant also points to players like Oscar Robertson, Bob Pettit, Walt Frazier and George Mikan, per ESPN.com's Baxter Holmes.

Bryant cannot have that level...

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