Kobe Bryant Youngest to 30,000

Kobe Bryant is one of only five NBA players to score 30,000 points and the youngest to achieve the milestone.

Kobe Bryant is one of only five NBA players to score 30,000 points and the youngest to achieve the milestone.

ESPN (“Kobe Bryant youngest to 30,000“):

Kobe Bryant’s ultimate place among basketball’s greats may be up for debate. But there is no denying Bryant’s spot as one of the all-time best scorers after he became the youngest player in NBA history to reach 30,000 career points Wednesday.

Bryant made a slashing right-handed runner in the lane with 1:16 remaining in the second quarter against the New Orleans Hornets, giving him 30,001 career points at just 34 years, 104 days old.

Bryant surpassed Wilt Chamberlain’s previous record of 35 years, 179 days. The Los Angeles Lakers star scored 17 points in the first half against the Hornets.

Bryant joins Chamberlain (31,419 points), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), Karl Malone (36,928) and Michael Jordan (32,292) as the only five players in NBA history to reach the 30,000-point plateau.

Of course, Bryant got a head start on his rivals: everyone else in the 30,000 club spent some time in college before going pro.

Bryant was the fifth-fastest player — in terms of games played — to reach the milestone, needing 1,179. Chamberlain was the fastest at 941 games, followed by Jordan (960), Abdul-Jabbar (1,101) and Malone (1,152). Bryant also was the youngest player to reach the 20,000-point mark.

So: He’s both the youngest man to 30,000 in terms of age and the slowest man to 30,000 in terms of games played. Indeed, all of the others except possibly Karl Malone are generally considered ahead of Bryant in the overall pantheon of basketball greats. He’s probably got another 2 or 3 highly productive seasons ahead of him, and maybe a few more mediocre ones after that. He’s quite likely to reach second place on the all-time scoring list and Jabbar’s mark isn’t out of the question.

Interestingly, despite being one of the great players of his era, being a top scorer, and having won five championships, he’s only won a single league MVP award. Jabbar won 6, Jordan and Bill Russell won 5, Chamberlain won 4, and many have won 3.

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James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Geek, Esq. says:

    Bryant has had his career overlap Jordan, Shaq, Tim Duncan and LeBron, which would explain the relative lack of MVP awards.

    Shaq, btw, only won a single MVP award, despite being the dominant player of his generation.

    But, both he and Kobe has a shelf full of NBA titles, which is what they all want.

  2. James Joyner says:

    @Geek, Esq.: But Jordan managed to win 5, despite a career that overlapped with Magic, Bird, Kareem, Malone, Duncan, and Bryant. Indeed, all but Bryant won multiple times.

    Shaq was arguably the most dominant player of his time but he wasn’t by any means the best; nor is he seriously in the “best players of all time” discussion. Which Bryant is, at least on a Top 10 list.

  3. PT says:

    Who casts votes for the NBA MVP, broadcasters and sports writers? Seems like a good measure…

  4. Geek, Esq. says:

    Well, Jordan is Jordan. Kobe isn’t Jordan, and he isn’t LeBron.

    Shaq and Kobe each have multiple Finals MVP awards, which counts almost as much as a regular season MVP, if not more.

    I don’t see how Shaq gets excluded from the greatest all time discussion if Bryant is included. Kobe at least the other team could have a game plan for–Shaq was unstoppable–a combination of strength and quickness we’ll probably never see again in the NBA. A great defensive center is also worth more than a great defensive #2 guard.

  5. James Joyner says:

    @Geek, Esq.: Problem is that there are so many great centers ahead of Shaq on the list: Wilt, Russell, and Kareem are probably among the five or six best players at any position ever and I’d argue that even contemporaries like Hakeem and Robinson were better all-around players. Shaq took whole half seasons off and was an epically bad free throw shooter, making him a liability late in close games.

  6. Geek, Esq. says:

    @James Joyner:

    By the same token, though, Kobe for most of his career has been eclipsed by guys who do what he does, just better–Michael at the beginning and LeBron towards the end.

    David Robinson was a great player, but he was clearly a rung below Shaq and Hakeem. Sure he was better balanced than Shaq, but my goodness the things that Shaq did well . . .

    Agreed though on the astounding depth at C for all-time debates. We’ve rattled off six legendary players at the position, not to mention Moses Malone, George Mikan, Willis Reed, Patrick Ewing,

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won the award six times.[4] Both Bill Russell and Michael Jordan won the award five times[3] while Wilt Chamberlain won the award four times in his career. Hall of Famers Moses Malone, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, along with current player LeBron James, have each won the award three times, while Bob Pettit, Karl Malone, Tim Duncan and Steve Nash have each won it twice.[3] The most recent winner is James.[

    Boston Celtics center Bill Russell holds the record for the most NBA championships won with 11 titles during his 13-year playing career.

  8. Bernieyeball says:

    Wilt Chamberlin never attempted a 3 point shot in the NBA because the 3 did not exist during his career. Kareem had half of his seasons to shoot threes.
    Jordan, Malone and Bryant have played in an era which has allowed them 3 point opportunities in every NBA game.
    So is this a fair comparison?
    All these cage giants have played the game according to the rules of the day. Such revisions are out of their control.
    Besides, what does fair have to do with anything in life?

    Meanwhile, on some other planet they play a game with these rules:
    To start a dribble after establishing a pivot foot, the ball must be released from the player’s hand before his pivot foot leaves the floor or he has committed a traveling violation. A player who receives the ball while moving is allowed a two count rhythm but must release the ball prior to the third step touching the floor. When ending his dribble a player may use a two count rhythm in coming to a stop, passing or shooting. A player who fall s to the floor while holding the ball or while coming to a stop may not gain an advantage by rolling on the floor. A player who attempts a shot may not be the first to touch the ball if it fails to touch the backboard, rim or another player. If a player comes to a stop on the count of one when both feet are on the floor or touch the floor simultaneously, he may pivot using either foot as his pivot. If he alights with both feet he must release the ball before either foot touches the floor. If a player has one foot on the floor or lands with one foot first to the floor, he may only pivot with that foot. Once that foot is lifted from the floor to shoot or pass it may not return until the ball is released. If a player jumps off one foot on the count of one he may land with both feet simultaneously for count two. In this situation, the player may not pivot with either foot and if one or both feet leave the floor the ball must be released before either return to the floor. When a player gathers the ball he may not step consecutively with the same foot, as in a hopping motion.