By Samihan Dani and Asad Jamal
The Black Mamba strikes again!
Kobe Bryant passed Michael Jordan for 3rd place on the NBA’s all time scoring list on Sunday night while playing the Minnesota Timberwolves. By making a pair of free throws in the second quarter, Bryant surpassed Jordan’s record of 32,292 points. Kobe is now behind Karl Malone (36,928) and Kareem Abdul Jabbar (38,387) with a total of 32,331.
Kobe has been compared to his idol, Jordan, all his career. On a Head to Head comparison, Kobe’s stats are very similar to Jordan’s stats. When they played together in the league, Kobe had 22.8 PPG compared to Jordan’s 24.5 PPG, 4.4 RPG to 4.3 RPG, 3.9 APG to 3.6 APG, .9 SPG to 1.1 SPG, and 1.5 TO to 2.0 TO.
Of course, you have to take into account their age differential. In both of their first 15 seasons Kobe has only surpassed Jordan in PPG for 4 seasons. In their careers, Kobe has 45.2% FG pct. compared to Jordan’s 49.7% FG pct., 83.7 free throw pct. to 83.5 free throw pct., and 33.4 3P pct. to 32.7 3P pct. Overall Kobe has 25.5 PPG and Jordan has 30.1 PPG.
Another variable in Kobe’s efforts to pass Jordan is the difference in the amount of seasons the two athletes played. In defense for Jordan, he missed two seasons within his prime years which could have amounted to a much higher total on the All Time Scoring list. This is obviously factoring in Jordan’s 30+ PPG average before he retired the first time and tried to play Baseball in the MLB and missed two years of his prime, and Kobe has played two more seasons than Michael Jordan due to injuries. However, Kobe’s first two seasons were played out on the bench, which couldn’t really boost his total scoring much with an average PPG of 10.4 in his first two years compared to Jordan’s 20.6 in his first two years.
This moment has been inevitable, but due to injuries last season it has been postponed till now. Bryant came into the game just 9 points shy of the record and it came in the second quarter on a free throw in Target Center. The game was stopped and Kobe was handed the game ball.
“I congratulate Kobe on reaching this milestone,” Jordan told the Associated Press in a statement. “He’s obviously a great player, with a strong work ethic and has an equally strong passion for the game of basketball. I’ve enjoyed watching his game evolve over the years, and I look forward to seeing what he accomplishes next.”
Kobe wasn’t too excited and treated it like a regular game. Although he did admit he got a little emotional.
“It’s really not a big deal to say I passed him for something like that,” Bryant said. “It’s a great accomplishment, but the true beauty is in the journey.”
Nike even put a special edition shoe on sale called the “Mamba Moment”
This isn’t the last we’ll be seeing of Kobe as he has a few more seasons left. Let’s see if Kobe can score another 6,072 points and become the Number One All Time Scorer in the NBA.