Los Angeles Lakers: all time leading scorer

Memphis 95, Lakers 93: The moment

February, 1, 2010
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
Kobe Bryant passing Jerry West to become the franchise's all-time leading scorer, but not for the reason one might assume.

Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images
Kobe passing Jerry West with this dunk was fantastic, but also about as good as it got for the Lakers.

Undoubtedly, it was a thrill seeing Kobe make history, taking his indelible place as the creme de la creme of purple and gold scorers. All praise is wholly deserved. But at the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon, whatever chapter this 95-93 loss represents in the book of Kobe's life, were it not for an especially memorable footnote, there would be absolutely no other reason to even skim these particular pages.

This was one stinker of a loss to watch, regardless of where your rooting interest lie.

Kobe's 44 points- Dude is nothing if not capable of creating irony- took a while to set into motion, as Bryant missed his opening trio of shots and first two free throws. But upon drilling a turnaround jumper against O.J. Mayo halfway through the opening frame, he quickly heated up, canning 15 of his next 25 attempts. And there was variety brought to the table as the guard grew closer to changing.

A buzzer-beating corner triple as the first quarter elapsed. A mid-range J canned over DeMarre Carroll's outstretched arms. Fouls drawn and baiting Mayo and Zach Randolph into technical fouls, the latter out of frustration when another guy altogether (Hamed Haddadi) was whistled for contact on Kobe behind the arc. A soaring, one-handed tomahawk dunk as the crowd buzzed and Marc Gasol could do nothing but helplessly watch.

And of course, there was the sequence allowing him to grab the torch.

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Countdown: Kobe Bryant poised to pass Jerry West

January, 26, 2010
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky

Getty Images
Kobe Bryant is 126 points shy of tying Jerry West for the all time lead in points scored for the Lakers franchise.

Kobe Bryant (shooting guard, #24, has his own puppet) has had a big 18(ish) months. An Olympic gold medal to go along with his fourth NBA title. League MVP honors in '08-'09. Finals MVP to sweeten the aforementioned O'Brien. Since the start of last season, Bryant has passed Larry Bird, Gary Payton, Clyde Drexler, Adrian Dantley, Robert Parish, Charles Barkley, and Patrick Ewing on the NBA's all-time points list, knocking aside Hall of Famers like bowling pins. Last week in Cleveland, he became the youngest player in league history to crack the 25,000 point barrier.

Given how most of us update our Facebook status soliciting back pats for things mundane as the proper hanging of a picture frame, this is pretty big stuff.

Still, it can be argued Kobe's most important accomplishment, at least on an individual level, is still and soon to come. With a scant 127 points- less than five games worth if his current 28.3 ppg holds- he'll pass the iconic (literally) Jerry West, the man who brought him to the team, for 14th on the all-time list... and tops in Lakers franchise history. There's nothing surprising about the achievement. Anyone with a calculator could see the moment coming, at least once Kobe made it clear he'd rather play in Los Angeles than distant non-planets, but inevitability doesn't diminish the significance.

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Nick Young
17.9 1.5 0.7 28.3
ReboundsJ. Hill 7.4
AssistsK. Bryant 6.3
StealsK. Bryant 1.2
BlocksW. Johnson 1.0