45 more points until The King passes The Mamba. Since 2016, Kobe Bryant has had the third spot on the all-time scoring list locked down with 33,643 points. Barring an injury or just forgetting how to play basketball, Lebron James will pass that mark within the next two games.
Over the course of their careers, Bryant and James have been made into rivals on the court by their fans but the players have too much respect for each other to buy into that. Bryant has been seen courtside at a couple of Laker games with his daughter, Gianna this year. Bryant has been vocal in his support of Lebron playing for the same organization that he brought five championships in over 20 seasons.
“He welcomed me here with open arms,” James said of Bryant’s embrace towards him playing for the Lakers. “Just to have that support from one of the greatest Lakers ever to play, it’s just special to me.”
Bryant, known and revered as one of the most competitive athletes to ever touch a basketball would be expected to bristle at the passing of this scoring torch. Instead, he has made a consistent effort to erase the notion that he will be anything less than happy when James passes him in points.
“I don’t know if people want that or want to have this kind of contentious thing where you don’t want records to be broken or people there to surpass you,” Bryant told USA TODAY Sports. “You should be happy for the person that comes after you to be able to surpass things that you’ve done. It’s kind of juvenile to think or to behave any other way.”
Lebron will have two chances to pass Bryant on national television. The first chance will be tonight against the Brooklyn Nets on TNT. 45 points is not out of James’ capabilities but considering he has made a concerted effort to get his team involved through assists, it is unlikely he goes for 45 tonight. The Lakers’ next game on Saturday may be the most ideal for James. Coincidentally, Lebron may pass Kobe in Bryant’s hometown of Philadelphia where the Lakers play the Sixers Saturday night on ABC.