Kobe “Bean” Bryant, aka The Black Mamba, sets another career milestone by becoming the youngest player to reach the 30,000 point scoring plateau, en route to the Los Angeles Lakers taking down the New Orleans Hornets last night 103-87.
At age 34, 104 years old, Bryant is only the 5th player in NBA history to reach this elite scoring club, and he did it at an age younger than the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (the other members of the club). Bryant is currently 5th on the NBA all-time scoring list, and by the end of next season will more than like take over third place on that same list (which is currently held by Michael Jordan).
Lost in the moment of such a historic accomplishment, was the fact that the Lakers got a much needed and rare road win, Led by Bryant’s 29 points. But last not simply belonged to The Black Mamba.
“It’s just a tremendous honor,” said Bryant. ”I don’t really know how else to put it. I’ve just been very, very fortunate.”
NBA commissioner David Stern was in attendance at last night’s game, and had high praises for Bryant and his competitive drive.
“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 spoke about Stern’s congratulatory sentiments.
“(Stern) said he was in (Las) Vegas when Kareem set his milestone and he just congratulated me and told me that I was one of the best competitors that he’s seen in this game,” Bryant said. “I really appreciated that. He’s done a lot for the game and obviously this kind of being his last in the office and so forth. It really means a lot.”
With this accomplishment and many more to come in the near future, it’s always interesting how pundits and today’s fan still don’t truly acknowledge in a consensus fashion, that Bryant is the only person that belongs in the same sentence with Jordan when you talk about making valid comparisons. For such a hallmark-type of career, Bryant doesn’t get that overwhelming cemented type of respect that you would think a player of his caliber should receive. But I digress, because Bryant has somewhat played a hand in that perception due to his past strained relationship with Shaquille O’Neal, and the disbandment of the early 200o’s Laker Dynasty.
And even with all of his accomplishments, there are a number of “old-school” journalists and fans who don’t even think he’s the best Laker of all-time, because that distinction goes to Magic Johnson, mainly for the way he transcended the game, and of course his NBA titles (even though Johnson will tell you that Kobe has had the better career). But again I will digress, because as he gets closer to the end of his Hall of Fame career, he will and should become more celebrated.
For the Lakeshow, this could possibly be a turning point in the season that brings about a new determined ball club that will live up to the expectations placed on them. One thing is for certain, they have the right man leading the charge, and hopefully they can follow his lead.
About the Author
Written by Arthur Kai