Forecast: Kobe Bryant's record chase

Originally Published: August 14, 2014
ESPN.com

Kobe BryantGetty ImagesHow many career points will Kobe Bryant rack up before he says goodbye to the NBA for good?

Where will Kobe Bryant finish in the NBA's scoring record books? The chase begins again next season.

Bryant, who missed all but six games last season because of injury, enters his 19th professional season with 31,700 career points, good for fourth on the all-time list. Ahead of him? Michael Jordan (32,292), Karl Malone (36,928) and the reigning champ, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387).

According to ESPN Stats and Info, if the 35-year-old Bryant averages 20 points per game for the Los Angeles Lakers, he can pass Jordan for third place in the 29th or 30th game of the 2014-15 season. The Lakers' 29th game is against Jordan's Bulls, on Christmas Day in Chicago. (Drama!)

But what about the other two spots on the list? Bryant signed a two-year, $48.5 million extension last December, ensuring himself at least 164 more games to jack up his total. But will his health hold up? Will he be able to still score like he used to as he creeps toward 40?

For those answers, we turned to the Summer Forecast panel.

And what about his on-court success?

Bryant has made the postseason 16 times in his almost two decades in the NBA, with five championship rings to show for it. But with the Lakers on a downswing -- our Forecast predicted 30 wins and a 12th-place finish in 2014-15 -- will he ever make it there again?

Our crew of experts is skeptical.

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