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Bryant joins 30,000 club

NEW ORLEANS – Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant became the youngest player to score 30,000 NBA career points during his team’s 103-87 road win against the New Orleans Hornets last night.

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant (centre) drives past Hornets’ Robin Lopez during last night’s action.

Needing 13 more points to hit that mark before the start of the game, Bryant scored his 13th and 14th points on a short floating jumper with just over a minute remaining before half-time.

At the age of 34, the 14-time All-Star became only the fifth player to reach the milestone, emulating Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), Karl Malone (36,928), Michael Jordan (32,292) and Wilt Chamberlain (31,419).

“It’s a huge honour, to say the least,” five-time NBA champion Bryant said earlier this week about the prospect of breaking the 30,000-point barrier.

“Whenever you hear those kinds of names, you think about the amount of players that have played this game, and then to be in that kind of company, it’s always extremely, extremely special.”

Asked if he had ever imagined reaching that lofty points total as a young player, Bryant replied: “When I was a kid, the only thing I looked at was the ring count because that was the thing that was most important.

“I knew how many Magic (Johnson) had, I knew how many Larry (Bird) had, I knew how many Doc (Julius Erving) had. Those are the things I looked at the most – teams that won, teams that were successful.

“I never really knew this person had this many thousand points, this person had this many thousand points.”

Bryant ended up with 29 points on 10-17 shooting while six-time All-Star Dwight Howard weighed in with 18 as the Lakers snapped a two-game skid to improve their record to 9-10 this season.

Ryan Anderson led the way for the Hornets (5-12) with a game-high 31 points, making five of eight three-pointers.

Other scores last night were: Knicks 100, Bobcats 98; Trail Blazers 92, Pacers 99; Timberwolves 94, Celtics 104; Warriors 104, Pistons 97; Nuggets 104, Hawks 108; Bulls 95, Cavaliers 85; Bucks 99, Spurs 110; Magic 81, Jazz 87; Raptors 100, Kings 107; Mavericks 90, Clippers 112.†††

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