Lakers' Bryant Becomes NBA Top 10 Career Scorer During Win Against Detroit

Kobe Bryant entered the top 10 of the National Basketball Association’s career scoring list, passing Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins during the Los Angeles Lakers’ 108-83 win against the Detroit Pistons.

Bryant, the 12-time NBA All-Star and the league’s Most Valuable Player in 2008, scored 17 points last night to bring his career total to 26,671, surpassing the 26,668 Wilkins tallied during a 15-year NBA career.

Bryant, who passed Wilkins on a driving layup midway through the third quarter, said he was not focused on his career point totals.

“It’s cool, it’s a great honor,” Bryant told reporters. “Those are the kind of things you look back in hindsight when your career is all over and said and done. Right now I’m just focused on winning a championship and I don’t think about it too much.”

The 32-year-old Bryant has a 25.3 per game career scoring average in 15 NBA seasons. He was sent to Los Angeles in a draft-day trade after being selected 13th overall by the Charlotte Hornets out of Lower Merion High School in the suburbs of Philadelphia. The Lakers have won five NBA titles with Bryant at guard.

“It’s another credit, another notch in his belt so to speak in his storied career,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson told reporters after the win against Detroit.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tops the NBA’s scoring list with 38,387 points, followed by Karl Malone (36,928), Michael Jordan (32,292) and Wilt Chamberlain (31,419).

The Boston Celtics’ Shaquille O’Neal, 38, Bryant’s former Lakers teammate, is the only active player ahead of Bryant in scoring, with 28,500 points to rank fifth. Sixth is Moses Malone with 27,409 points, followed by Elvin Hayes (27,313), Hakeem Olajuwon (26,946) and Oscar Robertson (26,710). If Bryant maintains his career scoring average and avoids injury, he should move up to sixth place before the end of this season.

The figures don’t include scoring in the American Basketball Association, which merged with the NBA in 1976. The combined NBA/ABA top-10 list also includes Julius Erving, with 30,026 points, and Dan Issel, with 27,482.

Bryant entered this season with 25,790 points, averaging 1,842 per campaign. At that rate, he’d pass Abdul-Jabbar as a 38-year-old, late in the 2016-17 season.

Bryant won the NBA’s scoring title in 2005-06 and 2006-07. He’s third in the league this season with 25.4 points per game, trailing the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant (27.9 points per game) and the New York Knicks’ Amar’e Stoudemire (26.4 points per game).

To contact the reporter on this story: Mason Levinson in New York at mlevinson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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