Kobe Bryant: Would a Lockout Ruin His Chance at the All-Time Scoring Record?

As Kobe Bryant moves up through the all-time scoring leaders, the question is being asked whether he could take the all-time scoring lead.

Based on his current total and season average, he should finish the season with somewhere in the ballpark of 27,900 points, which would put him 10,400 points behind the current leader, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

The question is: How long would it take Kobe to score those 10,000 points? Based on his current career scoring average, it would take him 5.08 years to accomplish the feat, so the rough eyeball test leaves the door open.

However, I wondered, how much decline is realistic over those years? Is it realistic to accept that a 37-year-old Kobe is going to score at the same rate as a 32-year-old Kobe?

The easy math says just stick another year on the end of his career and that solves it. Over a six-year span, he would have to score only 21.32 points per game in order to achieve the all-time scoring lead—that sounds pretty realistic. 

Then again, he is a shooting guard. Rather than just suppose it's reasonable, I checked to see what sort of decline we should expect to see realistically over time. I looked at some of the best scoring guards of all time to see what they did after 32 and what sort of decline they had over time.

Looking at Alex English, Julius Erving, Jerry West, Reggie Miller, Michael Jordan, Clyde Drexler, Ray Allen and Dale Ellis, the guards and forwards with the most points after 32, I looked at what sort of decline they had from year to year on average.

In the table below is the average rate of decline for each year after the age of 32. I considered average rates of decline, how many average points per game can be expected, what that translates to per season, and how far he would be behind Kareem. 

Age Percent of Previous Year's Scoring Kobe's Projected Points/Game Kobe's Projected Season Points Total ...

About the Author