Kobe Bryant becomes the youngest ever to reach 30,000 career points (VIDEO)

Ball Don't Lie

Los Angeles Lakers mega-star Kobe Bryant now has another NBA record to his name. With 1:17 left in the first half of Wednesday night's game against the New Orleans Hornets, Kobe cut through the lane and scored over center Robin Lopez to score the 30,000th and 30,001st points of his illustrious 17-year career. At 34 years, three months, and 12 days, that makes Bryant, the NBA's scoring leader this season at 27.9 points per game, the youngest in the history of the NBA to hit the mark. The previous youngest, Wilt Chamberlain, was more than a year older when he accomplished the feat during the 1971-72 season.

[Also: LeBron James reclaims most popular NBA jersey crown; where's Kobe?]

Only four other players have reached the 30,000-point mark in their career: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan, and Wilt Chamberlain, all of whom but Jordan played for the Lakers. That's very impressive company, obviously, and the only question now is just how far Kobe will get before he retires. Adbul-Jabbar, the all-time leader, is more than 8,000 points away. Assuming that Kobe averages 25 points per game for the rest of his career — a liberal estimate, considering his age — it would take him more than four full seasons to set the all-time record. Perhaps he'll settle for besting the player he's been compared to (unfavorably) for most of his career, Michael Jordan, who sits at third all time with 32,292 points. All of Bryant's points have come as a member of the Lakers, and it looks increasingly likely that he'll retire widely acknowledged as the best player in franchise history.

After the jump, check out words of congratulations from Kobe's longtime friend and nemesis Shaquille O'Neal, along with more on the moment.

What any of these accomplishments mean for this season remain unclear. The Lakers continue to struggle despite big expectations, and they have shown few signs of an imminent turnaround. Additionally, Kobe spent part of the first quarter getting an earful from teammate Dwight Howard, who yelled at him for not rotating properly on defense.

Whatever the case, these issues can be put aside for a few minutes. After a milestone this major, it's time to credit Kobe Bryant for all that he's done in his career. He's often a frustrating personality and player, but there's no doubting that he's one of the best players ever to step on a basketball court.

(Video via @cjzero)

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