REUTERS - Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant become the youngest player to score 30,000 NBA career points during his team’s 103-87 road win against the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday.
Needing 13 more points to hit that mark before the start of the game, Bryant scored his 13th and 14th points on a short floating jumper with just over a minute remaining before half-time.
At the age of 34, the 14-time All-Star became only the fifth player to reach the milestone, emulating Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), Karl Malone (36,928), Michael Jordan (32,292) and Wilt Chamberlain (31,419).
“It’s a huge honor, to say the least,” five-time NBA champion Bryant told reporters earlier this week about the prospect of breaking the 30,000-point barrier.
“Whenever you hear those kinds of names, you think about the amount of players that have played this game, and then to be in that kind of company, it’s always extremely, extremely special.”
Asked if he had ever imagined reaching that lofty points total as a young player, Bryant replied: ”When I was a kid, the only thing I looked at was the ring count because that was the thing that was most important.
”I knew how many Magic (Johnson) had, I knew how many Larry (Bird) had, I knew how many Doc (Julius Erving) had. Those are the things I looked at the most - teams that won, teams that were successful.
“I never really knew this person had this many thousand points, this person had this many thousand points.”
Lakers forward Pau Gasol, who has been sidelined because of tendinitis in both knees, tweeted: “Congratulations to the best scorer in the planet, mate and friend, Kobe! for joining the 30.000 points club!! Huge accomplishment! #Kobe30K”
Bryant ended up with 29 points on 10-17 shooting while six-time All-Star Dwight Howard weighed in with 18 as the Lakers snapped a two-game skid to improve their record to 9-10 this season.
Ryan Anderson led the way for the Hornets (5-12) with a game-high 31 points, making five of eight three-pointers.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Stutchbury