Legendary Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant becoming the youngest player to score 25,000 points won’t rank at the top of his career accomplishments whenever he’s eventually inducted into the Hall of Fame, but his passing Wilt Chamberlain was especially impressive considering the context, even if LeBron James would later pass him.
It wasn’t quite Bryant’s 81-point game, but on Jan. 21, 2010, at 31 years and 151 days old, Bryant became the youngest player to score 25,000 career points.
It’s an achievement he reached despite having limited opportunities during his first two years in the league and playing as a second option behind Shaquille O’Neal for several years after that.
But while Bryant’s achievement may have been historic, he told Dave McMenamin of ESPN at the time that the milestone wasn’t something unexpected for someone with Bryant’s particular set of skills:
“That’s what I do best,” Bryant said on Sunday. “Steve Nash is a great passer, I’m a great scorer. It’s what I do.”
For Bryant, it was just a continuation of what he’s always done:
“I think it just came easiest to me because, at an early age [when I was] five or six years old, I could put it in my left hand, put it in my right and that age, if you can go left against those kids it’s like shooting fish in a barrel,” Bryant said about his earliest scoring memories.
Bryant reached the milestone against James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, a fitting opponent given that James later passed him as the youngest to reach the milestone at 30 years and 307 days old.
Still, James did so while serving as a first option from the first day he stepped on the floor as a rookie. He still had to stay healthy, but Bryant managing the achievement despite having to earn every single limited opportunity he could get early on makes his holding the accolade at one point all the more impressive.
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