Bryant Joins Erving and Jordan in Elite 30,000 Point ClubKobe Bryant scored 29 points on Wednesday night as his L.A. Lakers defeated the New Orleans Hornets, 103-87; he became just the sixth member of pro basketball's 30,000 point club, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain and Julius Erving. Most media outlets will probably ignore Erving in this discussion but ABA Numbers Should Also Count and Erving was not only just the third player to cross the 30,000 point barrier but he was also the first "midsize" player to do so. Jordan and now Bryant are the only other "midsize" players on the list, which is a testament to the productivity, consistency and durability that Erving, Jordan and Bryant each displayed during their careers. It is disappointing--but not at all surprising--that ESPN "expert" Bill Simmons admitted that he did not even know which players were on this list (presumably referring to the NBA-only list; Simmons likely does not have a clue about the significance of Erving's ABA accomplishments and/or where Erving stands in pro basketball's Pantheon).
The 34 year old Bryant is the youngest player to score 30,000 points; if he averages at least 25 ppg (he currently leads the league in scoring with a 27.9 ppg average, including 31.2 ppg in his last five games) and does not retire when his current contract ends (after the 2013-14 season) then he will surpass Abdul-Jabbar's all-time record (38,387 points) early in the 2016-17 season. Bryant has the third highest career scoring average among the 30,000 point club members (25.4 ppg), trailing only Jordan and Chamberlain (30.1 ppg each, the highest regular season scoring average in pro basketball history--with Jordan holding on to top honors by .05 ppg).
In February 2011, Bryant became the eighth member of the 25,000/5000/5000 Club and now he is just the fifth player who has scored at least 30,000 points while also accumulating at least 5000 rebounds and at least 5000 assists (Abdul-Jabbar, Malone, Jordan and Erving are the others). Abdul-Jabbar, Malone and Erving are the only members of pro basketball's 30,000/10,000/5000 Club, a group that Bryant is several thousand rebounds short of joining.
posted by David Friedman @ 2:55 AM