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The 24 Stats That Explain Kobe Bryant’s Staggering Legacy

The Lakers legend was one of the most prolific and sustained forces in NBA history, reaching a level of dominance that defined his remarkable career

Getty Images/Ringer illustration

Kobe Bryant’s legacy is far too vast to strictly encapsulate with a set of numbers. But Bryant will be remembered in particular for three overarching themes on the basketball court: his longevity with the Lakers, his prodigious scoring, and his playoff success. In that vein, here are 24 stats that help summarize the story and scope of Bryant’s decorated playing career:

  1. No player in any major professional sport spent more time playing for a team in Los Angeles than Bryant.
  2. Bryant played 20 seasons for the Lakers—the second-longest tenure in NBA history for a one-team player, trailing only Dirk Nowitzki’s 21 seasons in Dallas.
  3. No other Laker has spent more than 14 seasons with the franchise. In other words, if Bryant had retired after winning his fifth title in 2010, he would still be tied for the longest run in franchise history.
  4. Bryant is the Lakers’ career leader in games, minutes, points, field goals made and attempted, 3-pointers made and attempted, free throws made and attempted, and win shares.
  5. Bryant was the first guard in league history to play 20 seasons. (Vince Carter has since matched, and passed, him.)
  6. Bryant is the only player in NBA history with two different jersey numbers (nos. 8 and 24) retired by the same team.
  7. Bryant is tied for first in career All-NBA selections, with 15—the same number as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Tim Duncan, and LeBron James.
  8. Bryant’s 11 first team All-NBA selections rank him behind only LeBron, and tie him with Karl Malone.
  9. Bryant is tied for second in career All-Defensive selections, with 12, and tied for first with nine first team All-Defensive nods.
  10. Thanks to his mix of talent, longevity, and popularity among fans, Bryant is second in career All-Star nods, with 18. (Abdul-Jabbar had 19.)
  11. Only LeBron has scored more career points in All-Star games.
  12. Nobody has more All-Star MVPs—Bryant won four, as did Bob Pettit a half-century earlier.
  13. Bryant ranked third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list (33,643 points) when he retired. On Saturday night, LeBron passed him in Philadelphia, Bryant’s hometown, and bumped Kobe down to fourth.
  14. Bryant scored 40-plus points in a game 122 times, third most in league history behind Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan.
  15. Bryant scored 50-plus points in a game 25 times, also third most in league history.
  16. Bryant scored 60-plus points in a game six times, second most in league history behind Chamberlain.
  17. Bryant scored 81 points against the Raptors in 2006, notching the second-highest single-game total ever.
  18. Adjusted for era, Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal put up the highest-scoring season for any duo in NBA history (2000-01)—and the second-highest (2002-03), the fourth-highest (2001-02), and the seventh-highest (1999-00).
  19. Bryant won five titles and earned Finals MVPs in 2009 and 2010.
  20. No team—not even the superteam Heat or Warriors—has won a three-peat since Shaq and Kobe powered the Lakers to three consecutive titles at the start of the century. For all his scoring, Bryant’s most iconic play might be a pass he threw toward the start of this run.
  21. Combining his regular and postseason totals, Bryant played 57,278 minutes and scored 39,283 points, both ranking fourth in history. By those measures, only Abdul-Jabbar, Malone, and LeBron have been more prolific postseason forces.
  22. Bryant is the NBA’s career leader in only one statistic: missed shots, totaling 1,064 more than second-place John Havlicek. That stat might seem like a strange choice to celebrate. But the very opportunity to shoot that often is a marker of dominance; the top 30 players in career misses are all current or future Hall of Famers. So much of Bryant’s on-court legacy was tied into his irrepressible determination to compete, and to score. He shot and he kept shooting. He knew he’d miss, as the misappropriated saying goes, 100 percent of the shots he didn’t take.
  23. Bryant’s final game proved a fitting capstone to his career. He took 50 shots, the most of any player since 1967, in a ball-dominant effort for the ages. He also scored 60 points, boosting his non-Wilt-record mentioned above, and electrified the Staples Center crowd in a blazing comeback win. That same night, at the same time, the Warriors won a record 73rd regular-season game. But all eyes were locked on Bryant, playing his role to the very end, two decades after his career began, in front of the same fans he’d always entertained.
  24. Bryant ranks in the top five in career playoff minutes, field goals made and attempted, and points. Only LeBron, Jordan, and Abdul-Jabbar scored more points than Kobe in the playoffs. Shaq ranks fifth.