Entering Sunday night’s road game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Bryant needed nine points to better Jordan’s career total of 32,292. The tying and go-ahead points came on two free throws with 5:24 left in the first half. The game was stopped at that point to acknowledge the achievement, and the 36-year-old Bryant was awarded the ball.
Bryant still trails NBA all-time leading scorer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar by more than 6,000 points (38,387), and is more than 4,500 points behind second-placed Karl Malone (36,928).
Abdul-Jabbar was a center and Malone a forward, so Bryant becomes the top scoring guard in NBA history. Jordan played both as a shooting guard and small forward.
Bryant sat out all of last season with injuries or he would have likely surpassed Jordan last year. He’s now in his 19th NBA season and has said he does not know if he will play after next season when his contract expires.
Abdul-Jabbar, who also starred for most of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers, played 20 seasons, and Malone played 19 seasons, 18 with the Utah Jazz and one with the Lakers. Jordan played 15 seasons and averaged more points per game than Abdul-Jabbar, Malone and Bryant.