JOHN IRELAND BLOG  |  ESPN Los Angeles

Passing West important to Kobe

February 2, 2010, 2:21 AM

By: John Ireland

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- One thing I've learned in covering Kobe Bryant over the past 14 years: He rarely cares about statistics.

But when he passed Jerry West on Monday night in Memphis to become the Lakers' all-time leading scorer, it meant something,

"It's a great honor, obviously," Bryant said, "but I don't look at it as me having the record, I look at it as us. Jerry, Elgin, Magic … all of us."

For the record, Bryant passed West at the three minute mark of the third quarter, on a dunk. Jordan Farmar was credited with an assist. Kobe finished the game with 44 points in the Lakers' 95-93 loss to the Grizzlies.

Bryant thought so much of this particular record that he told me he would have liked to have passed West at home.

"I really wanted to do it at Staples Center," Bryant said. "To do it in front of our fans, it would have been special for them."

Now that Kobe has 25,208 points for his career, Phil Jackson openly wondered just how far he can go.

"It's remarkable because you think of all of the scorers -- Elgin, Wilt, Jerry, Kareem," Jackson said. "For Kobe to pass all of those guys and get to 25,000, you wonder how long he can keep at this pace."

The all-time NBA scoring record is held by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, with 38,387.

Does Kobe think he could ever approach that number?

"Maybe, if my body holds up," Bryant said. "Depends how long I play. But I haven't thought about it much. It's a long way off."

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