Wednesday night Kobe Bryant entered a special fraternity — the exclusive 30,000-point club in the NBA with just five other members. With an attacking drive to the basket and a floater over Robin Lopez of the New Orleans Hornets, he accomplished the milestone and also became the youngest player to ever reach 30,000 points.Now that he has passed a number of former greats that came before him, there are other guys who could be within his reach. Even though Kobe has dealt with some injuries lately and is already 34 years old, Bryant is showing that he is still a lethal scorer and one of the best players in the NBA. At 34, Bryant leads the league in scoring with 28 points per game and he continues to adjust his game so he can continue to climb the list of the NBA’s all-time scoring leaders. Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan have been put on notice. The Black Mamba has both in his sights.
Kobe Bryant joined The Dan Patrick Show to talk about getting to 30,000 points, whether he remembers his first NBA basket, how nice it is to have players that came before him to provide inspiration, how many texts he received after he got to 30,000 points, what it means to him to be called an assassin by Mike Krzyzewski, if he thinks he can motivate Pau Gasol with words, on the slow start by the Lakers this year and whether he thinks he can ever get to the top of the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
Whether he remembers his first basket in the NBA:
“I think I was in Boise, Idaho, for a preseason game against the Dallas Mavericks.”
How nice it is to have players that came before him to provide inspiration:
“I think it’s good to have inspiration before you no matter what field you’re in. It’s always good to have those people that inspire you. Michael (Jordan) was certainly that for me, as well as some other players that came before me, and I used them as inspiration and also motivation.”
How many texts he received when he passed 30,000 points:
“About 100. (Host: Anybody that would surprise us?) I don’t think so. I don’t think there’s any surprises. Most of the people know we are close, a close-knit family in the NBA. (Host: Michael (Jordan)?) No I didn’t hear from Michael.
On the burden that is on a scorer to produce every night:
“It’s a mentality and I think it’s something that starts at an early age. I don’t think it’s something where you can become a scorer. You have to have a certain DNA that comes along with it. It’s almost like being a fighter pilot. Scorers who want to go out there and score every night are wired a little different.”
What it means to him to be called an assassin by Mike Krzyzewski:
“It’s a huge compliment. I take it as a compliment. It’s a player that can put himself in a space where he feels like he can finish off a team or lead a team to have that similar personality of aggression and intensity.”
Whether he feels like he can motivate Pau Gasol with words:
“It has worked successfully for two championships. I know him extremely, extremely well and I know what gets him going, I know what drives him. I know how to communicate with him either publicly or behind closed doors. It’s a combination of both, and I think you kind of have to know your guys a little bit and kind of know what to say and when to tweak them.”
When he thinks Steve Nash will be back:
“I don’t know. Hopefully soon.”
On the slow start to this season:
“We had a year where we started out relatively slow and it took us a while to get going. This is a different situation. That team was together for several years. This team is all new. We’ve obviously had kind of a roller-coaster experience with coaches, system change and injuries. I think it’s important that we remain patient, keep things in perspective, but at the same time have a sense of urgency that this needs to turn around today, it needs to happen now.”
If he has Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s number in his sights:
“I don’t even know what his number is. I know it’s something that’s absolutely crazy. (Host: He’s got 38,000.) 38? Yeah I don’t know about that. (Host: Michael is at 32,000. Should he be nervous?) It depends how many years I have left. I don’t know. Last season was a tough season for me physically and it was the first time going into an offseason where I didn’t know if I wanted to train as hard to prepare myself for the upcoming season. Just didn’t know if I had it in me to do anymore after 16 years. Then one morning I woke up and the desire was there and off I went. It’s tough when you get to 17 years or 18 years with no breaks. I haven’t taken a break and had chance to let my mind rest, my body rest; this has been non-stop.”