Perhaps a thunderous tomahawk jam would have been a more fitting way for Kobe Bryant to surpass Dominique Wilkins for 10th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, but during the third quarter of L.A.’s Tuesday win over Detroit, a running layup did the trick just the same.
“[Passing] Dominique, that was a big deal,” said Bryant’s teammate Lamar Odom. “It was great that he let us be a part of history.”
With 17 points in 29 minutes before sitting out the fourth quarter of a blow out, the Black Mamba reached 26,671 points in his career, surpassing ‘Nique’s 26,668.
It’s been a constant assault up the chart of late for No. 24.
Back on December 10th, Bryant used 23 points at Chicago to surpass John Havlicek (26,395) for 11th on the list, and should he continue at his current pace of 25.4 points per game, he’ll climb all the way up to sixth place by season’s end.
Waiting in front of Bryant are Oscar Robertson (9th/26,710*), Hakeem Olajuwon (8th/26,946), Elvin Hayes (7th/27,313) and Moses Malone (6th/27,409). As Bryant said in the below video, it’s difficult to put into perspective while one’s focus is exclusively on winning another championship, but the numbers speak for themselves. Last season alone, Bryant leapfrogged Alex English (25,613), Reggie Miller (25,279), Jerry West (25,192), Patrick Ewing (24,815) and Allen Iverson (24,368).
*Bryant needs just 40 points to surpass the Big O, a feat he could accomplish by going off in Phoenix on Wednesday night, or more likely by sticking around his average to get there on Friday against New Orleans.
When he passed West with a dunk at the 4:14 mark of the third quarter last February in Memphis, finishing the game with 44 points (West’s retired number), Bryant became the leading scorer in Lakers franchise history. Going back one year further to 2008-09, Bryant passed Hall-of-Famers Charles Barkley (23,757), Robert Parish (23,334), Adrian Dantley (23,177), Elgin Baylor (23,149), Clyde Drexler (22,195), Gary Payton (21,813) and Larry Bird (21,791).