Kobe Bryant is already considered one of the best to ever play the game, probably the second best two guard to ever step on a court, and though he is in the twilight of his illustrious career, there is no doubt Bryant will still be raising in the ranks of basketball legends.
Bryant just celebrated his 36th birthday this past Saturday, so I wanted to take a quick look at where the Black Mamba statistically sits among some of the all time greats in NBA history:
So far Bryant has played in 1,245 NBA games, which are the 25th most games ever played. Robert Parish is number one in that category with 1,611 career games played. In order to match or surpass Parish in this category, Bryant would have to play about four and a half more seasons in the league, which could be a possibility for him barring any injury. Bryant has already gone on record saying these last few years are it for him, but it is never easy for any of the greats to just walk away from the game that they excelled at for much of their life. I’m not saying Bryant will want to surpass Parish’s record, but it is not totally inconceivable.
Over these 1,245 career games, Bryant has totaled an amount of 45,567 minutes on the court; this number is currently the 13th most minutes played in NBA history. Former Laker great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is number one on this list with a total of 57,446 minutes played in his hall of fame career. I’m sure these staggering numbers resulted in a lot of ice baths for both of them. Just thinking of these colossal numbers make my knees hurt.
Scoring buckets is what always gets the most attention, and Bryant has always been able to put up points no matter the situation. Because of his tenacious persistence on the offense end, Bryant is 4th all time in scoring with 31,700 points over his career. Kareem is once again number one in this category with a total of 38,387 points. I’m not sure if Bryant will catch Kareem, but he certainly has a chance of passing his idle, Michael Jordan, who sits 3rd on the all time list with 32,292 points.
Though Bryant has made some of his more memorable highlights on the offense side of the ball, he certainly has been monumental on the defensive side, too. Bryant has the 15th most steals in NBA history with 1,835. John Stockton’s 3,265 steals makes him number one on this list.
Lastly, Bryant has always raised his level of play whenever the stakes are high: his 5,640 points scored in the playoffs helps to prove this point. In the entire history of the NBA, Bryant is only behind Jordan (5,987) and Kareem (5,762) for the most points scored in their playoff career.
Though Bryant is now another year older, and one step closer to the end of his playing career, it will no doubt be pleasurable to watch him increase his stock as one of the best in the history of the NBA.