Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant has drawn comparisons to Michael Jordan since his rookie season in 1996-1997. On Sunday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Bryant passed his idol and arguably basketball’s greatest player on the NBA all-time career scoring list to move into third place with 32,293 points.
It was a somewhat anticlimactic feat, with Bryant tying Jordan on his first of two free throws, and then passing the Chicago Bulls icon on the second, with 5:24 remaining in the second quarter at Target Center. The game was stopped with Bryant receiving a standing ovation from the crowd and congratulations from his teammates, Timberwolves players, and coaches.
Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor walked on the court and presented Bryant with the game ball. Bryant would later hug his head coach, Byron Scott, who helped mentor Bryant when he was a teen-aged rookie.
“I congratulate Kobe on reaching this milestone,” Jordan said in a statement released by the Charlotte Hornets. “He’s obviously a great player, with a strong work ethic and has an equally strong passion for the game of basketball. I’ve enjoyed watching his game evolve over the years, and I look forward to seeing what he accomplishes next.”
Laker fans we've been so blessed to watch Kobe Bryant, one of the top 5 or 6 best players ever, play in a Lakers uniform!
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) December 15, 2014
— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) December 15, 2014