Kobe Bryant passes Michael Jordan for third on all-time scoring list
Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant passed NBA icon Michael Jordan on Sunday for third on the league`s all-time scoring list.
Bryant, a five-time champion in his 19th season, came into the contest against the Minnesota Timberwolves needing nine points to surpass Jordan`s career total of 32,292.
He tied and passed the Hall of Famer with a pair of free throws that gave the Lakers a 38-32 lead with 5:24 remaining in the second quarter.
He finished with 26 points, including a go-ahead three-pointer with about a minute to play as the Lakers triumphed 100-94.
Bryant, with 32,310 points, now sits behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with 38,387 and Karl Malone with 36,928 on the all-time list.
The moment sparked a mini-celebration, bringing cheering fans to their feet as Bryant, 36, was awarded a game ball and congratulated by team-mates and opponents.
Bryant said he was touched that the Timberwolves arranged for the game to be stopped so the moment could be marked.
"I wasn`t expecting the Timberwolves organization to honor me like that," he said. "That was awesome. "It felt great to have that."
He acknowledged the accolades with a smile and a wave before delivering the ball to the sidelines, then patted his heart as he returned to the court to get back to the business of trying to win the game.
Bryant has long been compared to Jordan, but insisted as the milestone approached that he was more concerned with helping the Lakers win than breaking marks set by his idol.
But Bryant acknowledged he was proud of the achievement.
"It`s a huge honor," he said. "It`s so much work to get to this point. It`s unbelievable. Time has flown by."
Jordan, now owner of the Charlotte Hornets, congratulated Bryant in a statement, paying tribute to his work ethic and passion for the game.
"I look forward to seeing what he accomplishes next," said Jordan, who won six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls.