Kobe Bryant became the youngest player to reach 30,000 career points in the NBA on Wednesday as he helped the Los Angeles Lakers to a 103-87 victory over the New Orleans Hornets.
With 1:16 minutes left in the second quarter, Bryant drove into the lane and rose to connect on a jump shot, taking his tally for the contest to 14 and for his career to 30,001.
“It’s a huge accomplishment,” Bryant said of becoming just the fifth player in NBA history to reach the milestone.
He joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), Karl Malone (36,928), Michael Jordan (32,292) and Wilt Chamberlain (31,419).
“It feels good,” Bryant added. “I’ve been very fortunate that I haven’t really had any serious injuries. It’s been a lot of sacrifice on my part and my family’s part — a lot of time away and just working extremely hard.”
At 34 years old, he is the youngest player in history to reach the milestone.
Chamberlain was 35 years old, while Malone and Abdul-Jabbar were both 36 and Jordan 38 when they breached the 30,000 points mark.
However, Bryant was the fifth-fastest player in terms of games played to reach the milestone, achieving it in his 1,179th contest. Chamberlain got there in 941 games.
NBA commissioner David Stern was on hand to see the feat, but Bryant was just as concerned that the Lakers reversed their recent fortunes with a victory.
He finished with 29 points and six rebounds as the Lakers ended a two-game skid.
They bounced back from a disappointing loss at Houston — where they surrendered a double-digit fourth-quarter lead — to win for just the second time on the road this season.
Dwight Howard added 18 points, eight rebounds and five blocks for the Lakers.
“We came out very focused in the second half,” Bryant said, praising Howard in particular.
“We just kept on rolling,” he added.
In other play, it was:
‧ Spurs 110, Bucks 99
‧ Knicks 100, Bobcats 98
‧ Clippers 112, Mavericks 90
‧ Pacers 99, Trail Blazers 92
‧ Celtics 104, Timberwolves 94
‧ Warriors 104, Pistons 97
‧ Hawks 108, Nuggets 104
‧ Bulls 95, Cavaliers 85
‧ Kings 107, Raptors 100
‧ Jazz 87, Magic 81