Commentary

Can Kobe catch Kareem?

Bryant has work to do, but he really could chase Abdul-Jabbar's all-time scoring mark

Originally Published: January 16, 2012
By Tom Haberstroh | ESPN Insider
Bryant/Abdul JabbarGetty ImagesAt his current pace, could Kobe Bryant reach Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time scoring mark?

Let's face it, Kobe Bryant still has it.

If critics thought age was slowing down the Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard, he's certainly not showing it. On Saturday, Bryant scored 42 points in a 102-94 loss to the L.A. Clippers. It marked his fourth straight game of scoring 40 or more points and the sixth time in his career he's achieved that feat. Only Wilt Chamberlain has scored 40 or more points in four straight games more often (19 times) than Bryant. And Bryant's done all of this with an injured wrist.

Last season, in Bryant's age-32 season, he averaged 25.3 points, a sizable dip from his previous campaign (27.0 points per game). This was mostly due to a decrease in minutes, as his minutes per game dipped to 33.9. In 2011-12, Bryant is nearly back to his 2009-10 workload, averaging 37.2 minutes per game. And so is his scoring average.

Bryant certainly won't score 40 points every game this season, but he still remains on pace to accrue more points by the end of his age-33 season than the NBA's all-time leading scorer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, had at the same point in his career. But can Bryant reach Abdul-Jabbar's all-time scoring plateau of 38,387?


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