I will admit that I am a Laker-Hater and I am proud to say it, but I also will give respect where respect is definitely due. Congrats to Kobe Bryant for being the youngest player in NBA history to join the 30,000-point club after scoring 29 points in a 103-87 win against the New Orleans Hornets.
Only four other players — Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain — hit that mark, so it is a meaningful accomplishment; while Bryant was the youngest to do it, aided by going to the NBA directly out of high school, he needed more games to reach that mark than any of the others, who are all Hall of Famers.
This looks like this might be one of Bryant’s best statistical and efficient scoring seasons in his career; field goal percentage, free throws per game, three-point percentage and free throws made are career highs. Kobe is known as The Black Mamba who is an assassin when it comes to closing a game out with a kill shot before time runs out on the game clock.
Bryant is known for his intense preparation — not just in thousands of jump shots but in thousands of minutes with his feet in ice baths. In 2009, ESPN the Magazine followed Kobe around on a game day and noted that Bryant travels in a customized van that allows him to ice his feet and knees (which he does three times a day without fail) while he watches game tape. Sports Illustrated described Bryant’s world of personal trainers, massage therapists and ice baths. “He travels with his own trainer, Tim Grover, and he persuaded the team to hire his longtime physical therapist, Judy Seto, so he could receive treatment at all hours. When the Lakers held a Super Bowl party in February at the Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia, all but one of the players relaxed and watched the game. Bryant sat in a corner with his ankle in a bucket of ice and directed Seto as she worked on his limbs.” No one has taken better care of his body, which is why perhaps no one else has played at Bryant’s level so many games, minutes and dunks into his NBA career.
NBA commissioner David Stern said he was pleased to be able to also see Bryant surpass the 30,000-point mark in person. “As a talent, a competitor, I think that he is up there on the pedestal with Michael Jordan,” Stern said. “He is one of the greatest.” Like I said at the beginning of this story, I hate the Lakers but I have to agree with the commish in saying that Kobe Bryant is in the room of the best players of all time to play in the NBA.
Written by AG2