Sunday, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant added yet another milestone to his illustrious list by taking over third place on the NBA's all-time scoring list by passing his idol, Michael Jordan.
First, let me say that I admire Bryant's work ethic, the way he goes about his business is unconventional; Kobe is not your average modest athlete. Kobe's confidence mixed with arrogance persona is vilified in the media, but he doesn't care and neither should you. He's the Anti-Jeter of this era (in my opinion the most modest athlete ever). But that's how he's always been, even as he made his debut at 18 years old for the Lakers.
Bryant's career has been all about the grind while enjoying tons of success as well as failures. He's had his injuries, as recent as last season which limited him to 12 games. But when coming into this season at age 35, the thought of Kobe returning to regular season form was an aforementioned thought. But proving people that he can still play at a high level is something Kobe doesn't mind doing.
This milestone defines Kobe's longevity, and he has seen a few of his contemporaries careers go south due to a lack of such (i.e. Tracy McGrady). It took Bryant 1,269 games and two major surgeries along with a slew of other injuries causing him to miss a total of 112 games over 18 seasons to overtake Jordan. Take McGrady's career, he never played a full season of basketball and as good a scorer he was, he couldn't become a member of the 40 deep 20k point club.
The milestone also defines Kobe's competitive nature. The fire within him never stopped burning and the critics who said he was done and that he should've been amnestied after his torn achilles tendon were the fuel to the inferno.
He tirelessly worked to chase the man a lot of players wouldn't dare chase. He tirelessly worked to pass the man he self-modeled his game after.
Jordan set the bar at 32,292 and Bryant feverishly worked from day one to get to 32,293.
Kobe never stopped his pursuit and I doubt he would've.
Passing former teammate Shaquille O'neal was not very noteworthy, surprisingly, given their history. Passing Wilt Chamberlain, too was done without tons of hoorah and game balls being handed out by the opposing team's owner.
But it was passing Jordan that really put Bryant's marquee career into perspective.
In a way, in Kobe's personal way, passing MJ vaulted him into first on the scoring list.
Congratulations, Kobe, you deserved it.
"Tryna get that Kobe number, one over Jordan"