Scoring his 28,601 point Monday night, Kobe Bryant now ranks as the NBA’s fifth highest scoring player.
Bryant earned his spot on a long jump shot during the second quarter and went on to finish the game with 28 points, 24 of which came from the first half. Despite Bryant and the Lakers’ efforts, the squad suffered a 95-90 loss to Philadelphia. Bryant’s bucket passed former teammate Shaquille O’Neal’s record, outscoring him by only five. Preceding Bryant on the list is former Laker Wilt Chamberlain with 31, 419 points. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar currently sits at the top with 38,387 points — the most in the NBA’s history.
Despite O’Neal and Bryant’s long-standing rivalry, O’Neal was one of the first to congratulate Bryant via Twitter, writing, “Congrats to Kobe for being the greatest laker ever,” and adding, “Thanks for making us the greatest laker one two punch ever and congrats on passin me up 2.”
When asked whether Bryant had seen O’Neal’s comment, Bryant responded with thanks. “Cool. I appreciate it,” Bryant said. “I’m sure Shaq and I will connect at some point and revisit history. We had some good times.”
Before O’Neal was traded in 2004 to the Miami Heat, Bryant and O’Neal led the Lakers to three championships. However, the two teammates openly clashed throughout their time spent together on and off the court. O’Neal retired this past season, finishing his eighteen-year career.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Bryant was grateful for moving up on the list but commented on what mattered most to him now: “I just want No. 6, man,” he said, referencing his five championship rings. “I’m not asking too much. Just get me a sixth one.”
The Laker’s currently stand at 14-11 — second in the Western Conference.