Kobe Bryant Death: Where He Ranks in NBA History

Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal after their first championship in 2000

Getty Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal after their first championship in 2000

The untimely death of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant at age 41 shocked the NBA and the sports world in general. A look at his career numbers and achievements leaves no doubt as to why. Few players have established a legacy quite like Bryant’s in the league.

Check out where he ranks in league history:


No. 4: 33,643.

Above all else, Bryant was known as a scorer. He famously scored 60 points in his career finale as teammates continually funneled the ball to him, but needed just seven more points to push his career average to 25.0 per game. Instead, he finished with a career average of 24.99 points. He ranked No. 3 on the all-time list until Saturday, when he was passed by LeBron James. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone top the list.


No. 117: 7,047. As a guard, Bryant wasn’t a big rebounder but did average 5.2 per game. He had 21 triple-doubles in his career.


No. 31: 6,306.

Bryant’s game-high for assists in his career was 17, which he did in January 2015. He averaged 4.7 for his career.


No. 14 (tie): 5.

Bryant’s Lakers won championships in three straight seasons, from 2000-02, when Bryant was teamed with Shaquille O’Neal. After those Lakers broke up under the weight of years of Bryant-O’Neal tensions, Bryant briefly underwent a year in which he wanted out of L.A. But the Lakers rebuilt around him and Bryant lead the team to two more titles, in 2009 and 10.

All-NBA selections

No. 1 (tie): 15.

Bryant earned 15 All-NBA selections, which put him into a tie with Abdul-Jabbar and Tim Duncan. James joined that list, too, and will likely take over the top spot with 16 this year. For now, though, Bryant, Abdul-Jabbar, Duncan and James are tied for the top spot.

All-Star selections

No. 2: 18.

Abdul-Jabbar had the most All-Star spots in league history with 19. Bryant made 18 teams, though, only missing a spot on the team once, in his rookie year. The league did not have an All-Star game in the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season. Other than that, Bryant was an All-Star every year he played.

All-Star MVPs

No. 1 (tie): 4.

Only Bob Petit was the NBA’s All-Star MVP four times between 1956 and 62, though he split the award twice. Bryant won it solo in 2002, 07, 09 and 11. Four players have won it three times, including James, who will have a shot at being named MVP next month.

Youngest debut

No. 3: 18 years, 72 days.

Bryant played his first career game on November 3, 1996, when he played 6 minutes against the Timberwolves and missed the only shot he took. (He had 11 points in 22 minutes when the Lakers played the Wolves again the next month.) Andrew Bynum and Jermaine O’Neal are the only players who were younger than Bryant when they made their first appearance.

Field-goal attempts, game

No. 1: 50.

Bryant attempted 50 field-goals in his final game in 2016, the most since 1983-84 according to Basketball-Reference.com. Stats were not kept consistently before then, and only Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and Elgin Baylor also took 50 shots in a game.

Points scored, game

No. 2: 81.

No one has matched the 100 points scored in a game by Wilt Chamberlain, of course, but Bryant has gotten closest. He had 81 points against Toronto a little more than 14 years before his death, in 2006. Bryant was 28-for-46 from the floor in that game, including 7-for-13 from the 3-point line. The rest of the Lakers combined to score 41 points.

Playoff points

No. 4: 5,640 points.

Bryant ranks seventh all-time in postseason games played, at 220, just behind Tony Parker. But he is fourth on the all-time playoff scoring list, with 5,640 points. James is No. 1 on the list, followed by Michael Jordan and Abdul-Jabbar.


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