With a driving layup at the 6:43 mark of the third quarter in what became a complete blowout of the Detroit Pistons as Staples, Kobe Bryant passed Dominique Wilkins- a player who once graced my wall in poster form- for 10th place on the NBA's all-time scoring list.
Kobe entered tonight's action with 26,654 points, and his 17 against the Pistons pushed him three beyond Wilkins.
While I consider the Human Highlight Reel one of the more underrated players of recent memory (people will point to a lack of playoff success, others call him an empty scorer) despite his induction into the Hall of Fame in '06, tonight's milestone is really more an appetizer for the next name Bryant will soon pick off on his climb up the scoring ladder:
Oscar Robertson (26,710).
Kobe tends to deflect conversations about this sort of thing, but for a guy who steeps himself in basketball history, to work his way past a true legend like Robertson will undoubtedly have some meaning. He'll enter Wednesday's game in Phoenix 39 points behind, meaning he could get there tomorrow, and if not there almost certainly Friday at home against New Orleans.
Using Bryant's current 25.4 points per game average as a guide, it'll be about eight-to-ten more games before he catches Hakeem Olajuwon (26,946) for eighth. From there, the wait gets a little longer... but not too much. Bryant will then need another 367 points to match Elvin Hayes (27,313) for seventh, and 96 more after that to reach Moses Malone (27,409) at the sixth spot.
From there, the truly entertaining countdown begins, as Bryant targets Shaquille O'Neal, who entered Tuesday's action with 28,500 career points. O'Neal is still a moving target... just not moving all that fast. Assuming good health, Unfortunately for those itching to re-live every Shaq/Kobe rivalry moment right now, Bryant only has another 1,100-1,200 points (give or take) left to go this season, meaning passing the Diesel will have to wait until next year.