Will LeBron and KD Both Pass Kobe Bryant on the All-Time Scoring List?

This season, Kobe Bryant passed Michael Jordan on the NBA‘s all-time scoring list. While both Kevin Durant and LeBron James still have their youth, if they stay healthy, the milestone to pass Bryant would be within reach. 

With James the youngest to reach 20,000 points and Durant the second youngest to reach 15,000 points, both of these elite superstars have the time and the skill to one day, eventually be able to surpass Bryant on the all-time scoring list.

Will James and Durant pass Bryant? Who will score more all time: KD or ‘Bron?

Check it out as Howard Beck and Ric Bucher decide if Durant or James can catch Bryant on the all-time scoring list in the video above.

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Kevin Durant Latest to Call ‘BS’ That Kobe Is Driving Free Agents from Lakers

Kobe Bryant is not keeping notable free agents from signing with the Los Angeles Lakers, despite his tough-love policies and occasionally abrasive personality. 

The state of the roster may be doing that. The time of year probably has something to do with it as well right now, though that’s neither here nor there. It’s tough for marquee free agents to sign with a team that seems to have an established culture of losing in recent years, even if there’s an abundance of historical appeal and brand appeal. 

But it’s not Bryant who’s driving anyone away, and you can add Kevin Durant to the list of people to claim that, as he told USA Today‘s Sam Amick

Excuse my language, but that’s (expletive). I want to play with a winner every single night, especially somebody who wants to win that bad, who works that hard, who demands a lot, who raises up your level. I’d want to play with a guy like that every day. … (His style) may make people uncomfortable, how he acts and just how he approaches the game, but I love that type of stuff. I think (the accusation) is BS.

Durant—who texted Bryant to congratulate him on passing Michael Jordan on the career scoring leaderboard, per Amick—later said the following: 

Just his work ethic, just his demeanor man. He doesn’t mind being an (expletive), and he comes to work man. He’s intense. He demands a lot out of his teammates, and I’ve seen that just playing alongside him in the Olympics (in 2012). He demands a lot out of everybody. He makes them better. Everybody out on the court. You’ve got to respect that. As a player, I study guys like that. We might not have the same personality, but I think we approach the game the same way and I’ve learned a lot from just watching him.

The NBA‘s reigning MVP isn’t the only notable figure to dispute the now-infamous report by ESPN.com’s Henry Abbott, one that unequivocally blamed Bryant for the downfall of the once-proud franchise. 

Jeanie Buss came to her star player’s defense. Carmelo Anthony disputed the notion that he avoided signing with the Lakers because of Bryant’s presence. Even Phil Jackson, Paul George and Flea, the bassist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, thought the claims were ridiculous, taking to Twitter to express their disbelief: 

As Matt Moore writes for CBS Sports, perhaps the blame shouldn’t fall on Bryant, but rather the management of this suddenly dysfunctional franchise: 

Bryant has been the target for the blame about the Lakers’ troublesome direction, but if players do actually want to play alongside the future Hall of Famer, then maybe the blame should be more on the leadership of the Lakers’ organization. Jim Buss taking over the basketball operations while Jeanie Buss commands the business side of it all hasn’t been a good combination for attracting or keeping the biggest names that Dr. Jerry Buss never had issues getting for this team.

Durant isn’t in a position where he can throw the management of the Lakers under the bus, but he can at least defend his fellow superstar. His words don’t exactly leave much wiggle room, and he easily could have declined to go down that route of questioning in the first place. 

Of course, the Lakers may not land any of their big targets during next summer’s free-agency frenzy. That’s a distinct possibility, tough as it may be for purple-and-gold supporters to admit it.

But if that happens, let’s avoid blaming Bryant for the misfires of his lifelong team. He might be clanging plenty of jumpers, watching the ball on defense and playing a highly inefficient and sometimes detrimental brand of basketball, but his play and attitude isn’t exactly driving off free agents. 

Hopefully, now that Durant has spoken up, that narrative can be firmly put to rest. 

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Kevin Durant on notion no one wants to play with Kobe Bryant: ‘That’s (expletive)’

As the 2014-15 NBA season was just getting underway in October, a story written by Henry Abbott for ESPN The Magazine made the startling assertion that according to his anonymous sources inside the league, most players would prefer to not have Kobe Bryant as a teammate and that he ultimately is responsible for the downfall…Read More
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Exclusive Behind-the-Scenes Look at Kobe Bryant’s Road Trip into NBA History

NBA Senior Writer Kevin Ding followed the Los Angeles Lakers on their three-game trip to San Antonio, Minnesota and Indiana for three very different results.

Here’s a peek at what happened on and off the court during the trip…

SAN ANTONIO

It’s Friday night, and video crews from NBA Entertainment, the Lakers’ Time Warner Cable SportsNet network and Showtime (filming Kobe Bryant‘s “Muse” documentary) are all jamming into the Lakers’ training room.

The small area is set aside for player medical treatment and maintenance. It’s adjacent to the regular locker room, and the door usually stays closed for privacy. In some older arenas without proper training rooms, Lakers trainer Gary Vitti will settle for curtains or partitions—and when he really has nothing to work with, he’ll even create makeshift separation by sticking lines of athletic tape on the carpet to convey to folks like us in the media to keep out.

But in special cases for special people, such as team photographers or league-sanctioned personnel (or Bryant’s celebrity acquaintances such as Barry Bonds back in the day or Novak Djokovic more recently), access is allowed.

On this night, Bryant is threatening to pass Michael Jordan for third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. With 30 points separating them, all the directors and producers need poetic calm-before-the-storm footage if Kobe passes Michael against the Spurs.

The footage they collect in the training room?

Kobe cutting his fingernails.

Whether he leaves a hangnail or doesn’t file well, he shoots poorly—but his teammates are brilliant. And the Spurs are “pitiful,” as Gregg Popovich puts it later, besides resting Kawhi Leonard’s sore hand.

Does the Lakers’ sharpness have something to do with Bryant scrimmaging hard and talking trash in practice the day before? Of course. Is it Bryant’s specific design? Not really, but generally speaking he is very willing to put stress on a situation to test it.

In this case, his teammates also know there is plenty of focus on them in an ESPN game against the NBA champions with Bryant nearing Jordan. And they are on point.

It turns into the Lakers’ best game of a depressing season. They win in overtime not on a Bryant shot, but on a Nick Young three. It was Young who actually initiated all the jaw-jacking with Bryant the day before—although Young’s bench unit lost the scrimmage to Bryant’s starters.

And same as in the 2013-14 season finale, which the Lakers also won in San Antonio after Bryant had ditched the dead-end team to celebrate his wedding anniversary in Paris, Young is the straw that stirs a bad drink into something surprisingly refreshing.

Young is honest in the locker room afterward about his approach to this game: He was ready to maximize his chances because he figured his idol Kobe would be taking a really big windup to blow a fastball by Michael.   

“No offense to Kobe,” Young says chirpily, looking back. “I didn’t think I was gonna get the ball that much!”

Young’s uninhibited joy fills the locker room as he brings teammates into his interviews with reporters. And yes, the swag is real: Young steals Bryant’s spotlight and struts all over it.

“Let him have a day off,” Young says of Bryant. “‘Take a break, little man. You kinda tired.’ “

 

MINNEAPOLIS

Young’s big shot leads Byron Scott to give the team the day off Saturday. The Lakers had been scheduled to stay over to practice in San Antonio instead of going ahead with a late-night postgame flight to the next city, as is customary. Scott either loves Tex-Mex food or hates the cold.

Practice would’ve been at a local San Antonio rec center the Lakers have used before. Practices in public places on the road—often the home team’s practice court is unavailable or not in close proximity—are some of the more curious days in an NBA season.

Particularly when the Lakers were on top of the basketball world, they were like rock stars descending on health clubs or small college gyms. (Check out, for example, the reactions of some students spying on Lakers practice in 2010 at Boston‘s Emerson College—and gawking at Andrew Bynum, saying: “He’s so tall! Look at that. He’s so tall.”)

Even now that they’re close to the bottom of the standings, the Lakers remain relevant largely because of Bryant.

The Lakers’ longtime brand matters, of course, but Bryant’s stature today matters more. With him on the team, they haven’t had to know the feeling of trivial games in dead arenas. Put simply, they knew better than anyone in the marketplace what they were buying when they sent that much talked-about two-year, $48.5 million contract offer to Bryant.

It’s Sunday night, and the 7-16 Lakers versus the 5-17 Timberwolves might otherwise feel like Kings-Jazz or Bucks-Pistons—but Bryant is here and set to do something special.

The Timberwolves drew 10,337 Wednesday night against then-17-4 Portland. They drew 13,557 Friday night for Oklahoma City with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

They draw 15,008 Sunday night against the Lakers.

Bryant’s Jordan-passing second-quarter free throws may not have been as dramatic to certain fans as watching second-year 6’11″ T-wolves center Gorgui Dieng come off the court just before introductions to use the public restroom slightly closer than the locker room, but watching Bryant pass Jordan on the all-time scoring list resonates in a meaningful way. Even veteran players who have reason to be a little jaded about December regular-season basketball bask in it.

Lakers guard Ronnie Price, who is with his sixth different team in his 10th year in the league, captured the feeling after:

“I’m used to watching these moments when I was a kid, watching NBA Classics, seeing all of the great things that all of the guys did ahead of us. Now to be actually on the court and affiliated with one of those moments is something that I’ll never forget. It’s something me and my family—my kids and my kids’ kids—can enjoy. To be a part of his history, to be a part of NBA history, is kind of a goose-bump feeling.”

Price has four steals to help the cause, but it’s Bryant this time who cuts in front of Young on a broken play to get the ball and hit a tie-breaking three-pointer with 1:02 left. The Lakers win again.

The NBA Entertainment video crew, which resorted to interviewing me about Bryant and Jordan pregame in lieu of Bryant toenail footage, gets to head home with the torch passed and Bryant’s postgame press conference a veritable retrospective on his career.

Yet in the same way that the best wedding photos are the private, almost stolen moments rather than the staged and smiled creations, the realest reality TV moment of Bryant’s big night is captured by Lakers new media manager Ty Nowell (who later brings fans onto the team plane via his Vine of the flight attendants presenting a smiling Bryant with a congratulations cake).

Nowell’s Vine of Bryant right after the final horn ends with a candid moment, right before Bryant goes on camera for his postgame interview with TWC SportsNet sideline reporter Mike Trudell. Bryant looks Trudell up and down, nods and tells him just like a regular bro: “Nice suit.”

It’s that little stuff that usually happens on the real-life road…when no one is chasing the ghost of Jordan.

 

INDIANAPOLIS

No one can peek into Vitti’s training room before the Lakers look to extend a rare winning streak Monday night, even though the double doors have small glass windows. There is paper taped up over the glass.

But after Bryant exorcised the ghost of Jordan the previous night, almost no one is trying to look in and see how Bryant is getting his heavy-mileage body ready for a third game in four nights.

It’s the same training room where Vitti got Bryant’s severely sprained left ankle ready for his first virtuoso NBA Finals act: winning Game 4 over Reggie Miller’s Pacers en route to Bryant’s first championship in 2000.

Fourteen years later, Bryant isn’t injured, but his body sure doesn’t bounce back in the way it did then. He misses nine of his first 10 shots, often short, and his teammates aren’t much better.

The Lakers miss an astounding 36 of 41 shots to start the game (12.1 percent shooting) and fall behind, 60-21. This time, it’s the Pacers who are on point as they try to snap an eight-game losing streak. And as this game will show, the course of an NBA game often comes down simply to one team trying a lot harder than the other.

Bryant gives all the folks in No. 24 Lakers jerseys on hand a little excitement in the third quarter by pushing his body into any and all activity. He junks up the game with manic, wild energy at both ends. He gets a couple of steals. He throws down a shocking dunk. He takes some bad shots and bad fouls. But he gets the team to make plays and gain a little ground.

Bryant scores 14 points in the quarter and crashes into the scorer’s table trying to reach a loose ball in the final second. Then he sits out the fourth quarter of Indiana’s 110-91 victory, leaving his shooting line at an atrocious 8 of 26. Postgame, he is not dismayed.

After this trip began with all that talk about Bryant using practice to carry a theme over to the game, he is using a game to carry a theme over to the next practice.

“In the second half, we learned a lot,” he says. “We learned what it feels like to play that hard on defense. You have to get after it. It helps to know what that feels like.”

Three days after the Lakers’ best victory, one day after he makes history, Bryant’s team is humiliated. Still, he offers the same prognosis after each game:

Progress was made.

And he’s happy to be heading home. The Lakers don’t play again till Friday.

“That time off,” he says, “will be much, much appreciated.”

 

Kevin Ding is an NBA senior writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, @KevinDing.

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Durant on Kobe: ‘I’d want to play with a guy like that’

Durant says that Bryant demands a lot from players and makes them better

      
 

 

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Nike Kobe 9 Elite High “Challenge Red” Sneaker (Picture)

Nike Kobe 9 Elite “Challenge Red”

A man on a mission with tunnel vision was Kobe Bryant chasing the great Michael Jordan on the NBA All-Time Scorers List. Only those blessed with the competitive spirit as Kobe understands after tip-off it’s him and the hoop, the other nine players on-the-court become none existent. This is what we call tunnel vision or “Seeing Red”.
Kobe has and continues to see red in his 19th NBA season contributing 25.2 points per game ranking third in the league in scoring.
Nike Basketball channels the Black Mamba’s competitive spirit in the latest creation of the Kobe 9 Elite line called the ‘Challenge Red’. The ‘Challenge Red’ features TPU triangles on the upper as the Air Yeezy 2 ‘Red Octobers’ with red snakeskin, no Nike swoosh.
Finished with a mirrored Kobe insignia on the tongue along-with a matching mirrored midsole, best feature on the shoe in my opinion. The official release slated for this Friday, December 19th, at $275.00 retail price.

Nike Ko

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Reggie Miller: Michael Jordan 10 times better than Kobe Bryant

Retired NBA guard Reggie Miller played against both Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant during the course of his 18-year career with the Indiana Pacers.
With Bryant recently passing Jordan on the NBA all-time scoring list, Miller weighed in on which player was the better of the two during his weekly appearance on the Dan Patrick Show.
“Michael Jordan on his worst day is 10 …

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To Slither or to Swoosh…. Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant

With number 24(formally number 8) of the Los Angeles Lakers recently passing number 23(no reference needed) there are some people out there saying that Kobe Bryant might actually be the better basketball player. Alright, get near your closest water cooler or glass filled with water….or step up on that soap box or any box that will elevate you slightly so that your opinion is viewed as better and more superior. It’s time for a good old fashioned lesson. The lesson is needed because there are actually human beings walking around on this planet that believe that the Mamba bests the swoosh as a baller because of the passing on the all time scoring list. A tremendous accomplishment and much respect to Bryant but….He is the better player? Silly. He is the second best shooting guard of all time. SECOND. But there are people out there(mostly the kids who didn’t see MJ play and die hard Laker fans) who really believe he is simply the best. Really? Alright kids, get on the bus…time to go to s…

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Lakers throw a party for Kobe Bryant on team plane

On Sunday, Kobe Bryant achieved a huge career milestone when he passed Michael Jordan on the NBAs all-time scoring list. Unfortunately, the Lakers could only offer him a rather sad plane party afterwards. Yes, the Lakers celebrated Kobe’s latest achievement by hanging some cheap decorations around his space on the team’s plane. It might as
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Kobe Bryant Talks Michael Jordan Inspiration in ‘The Players’ Tribune’ Exclusive

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant surpassed Michael Jordan on the NBA scoring list against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday night, topping MJ’s total of 32,292 points. Following that historic accomplishment, Bryant wrote about how Jordan inspired him to continue playing basketball.   

In an exclusive for The Players’ Tribune, the 16-time All-Star noted that he almost gave up on the sport before hearing about Jordan struggling early in high school:

Here’s where my respect and admiration for MJ was forged. I learned that he had been cut from his high school team as a freshman; I learned he knew what it felt like to be embarrassed, to feel like a failure. But he used those emotions to fuel him, make him stronger, he didn’t quit. So I decided to take on my challenge the same way he did. I would channel my failure as fuel to keep my competitive fire burning. I became obsessed with proving to my family — and more importantly to myself — that I CAN DO THIS.

Prior to that, Bryant noted that he felt he “put my family to shame” by not scoring in Philadelphia’s Sonny Hill Future League. At that point, he was only 12 years old and contemplated focusing on soccer.

Now, Bryant stands alone at third on the NBA scoring list for his career. The Lakers’ official Twitter account passed along a note after he finally eclipsed Jordan:

This serves as yet another great example of how current and former stars can affect future standouts. Bryant and Jordan’s careers barely overlapped, but the torch was passed at a young age when an NBA career was an afterthought for Bryant.    

At 36 years old, Bryant is enjoying another great season after returning from injury last year. Averaging 25.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.9 assists, he is still on par with his career averages of 25.5, 5.3 and 4.8, respectively.

Los Angeles may not be competitive in the Western Conference this season, but Bryant has still won five NBA championships with the team. His legacy is already set, much like Jordan’s was late in his career.

Maybe one day another young player will note how important current stars like Bryant, LeBron James or Kevin Durant are for their own future. For now, Bryant has Jordan to thank for the inspiration he provided him throughout his journey to this spot in the record books.

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