Kobe Bryant – 17 points to 26,000

62394386If Kobe Bryant scores 17 points in Thursday evening’s contest at Denver, he will become the youngest player to do so in the history of the NBA (32 years, 80 days), surpassing former Lakers Wilt Chamberlain (32 years, 114 days) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (33 years, 331 days).

Seven players in league history reached the 26,000 mark in fewer games than Bryant likely will (1,030 if he does so at Denver), most recently Shaquille O’Neal, who needed 1,022 games. Chamberlain was the fastest in terms of games, doing so in 734 games, while Michael Jordan got there in 815 contests, Abdul-Jabbar in 925 and Karl Malone in 997, a list which doubles as the top five scorers in NBA history (though in a different order).

Bryant, who eased into the season while gaining strength on his knee, is averaging 24.1 points per game to lead the Lakers while playing 31.8 minutes per game, far below his career minutes average of 36.6 and 38.8 in 2009-10.