HoopsHype Michael Jordan rumors

LATEST HOOPSHYPE VIDEOS

December 14, 2014 Updates

With a pair of free throws in the second quarter Sunday evening, Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant moved up one notch on the all-time NBA scoring ledger, taking over third place and passing Michael Jordan. Bryant, 36, entered Sunday's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves needing nine points to surpass Jordan, who had 32,292 points over 15 seasons. He passed Jordan by making both his free throws after being fouled by T'wolves rookie Zach LaVine on a drive with 5 minutes, 24 seconds. USA Today Sports

Kevin Ding: Game is stopped. Kobe gets hugs all around. PA announcer announces it. Tribute images on the overhead scoreboard. Twitter @KevinDing

I've been lucky enough to cover Bryant since he arrived in 1996 (and his father, Joe, as a Philadelphia 76er in the '70s). Kobe's the most exciting player I ever saw. routinely doing stuff that defied belief. Unfortunately, they don't give you extra points for degree of difficulty. If they did, Kobe would have been the greatest there ever was. No one may have ever been to the heights that Bryant reached at his zenith, simply because no one else ever did anything close to what he did while taking shots as crazy and making the game as hard. Forbes.com

Scott thinks so. "Jordan, back in the day, they said he was a tough guy to play with because he was so demanding," Scott said. "He was punching guys in practice and things of that sort. And Kobe is in that same cloth." Just ask Smush Parker, who once said Bryant told him in practice, "You can't talk to me. You need more accolades under your belt before you come talk to me." ESPN.com

He is also the only person to have served as head coach for both players, at any level, which makes him an almost unquestionable authority on one of the most popular comparisons in all of sports, and all of sports history. But Bryant disputes this claim from Jackson. All of it. "Nah, it's a myth," Bryant said. "Phil likes to say things a lot of times to create good content, to create good stories, as most [reporters] do." ESPN.com

Bryant is early in his 19th NBA season. He doesn't know whether he'll play after his current contract expires following next season, although Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak suspects Bryant will retire. If surpassing Jordan's career points total is Bryant's final milestone on his rise, he'll be grateful to sit alongside one of his heroes. "It's not like a distraction or anything," Bryant said. "It's not like it's (not) going to happen. I just take it all in stride." USA Today Sports

December 13, 2014 Updates
December 12, 2014 Updates

At 36, in his 19th season, Bryant is poised to pass Jordan for third on the NBA's career scoring list. He needs just 31 points to do it, meaning it will likely happen on the Lakers' next road trip starting Friday in San Antonio. It is a momentous achievement, one that once again intersects Bryant's career arc with Jordan's and underscores all the similarities in their games -- not to mention the unique role Bryant has played in connecting past with present. And future. "I think a lot of people saw the highlights of him, the dunks or the fancy layups. But as a kid, I saw more than that. I saw how he got there," Bryant told CBSSports.com. "I saw footwork. I saw spacing. I saw how to use screens. That's what I saw. That's what's different from a lot of kids who came up during my era. They saw the highlights, but I saw how he got to those highlights." CBSSports.com

"I think a lot of people saw the highlights of him, the dunks or the fancy layups. But as a kid, I saw more than that. I saw how he got there," Bryant told CBSSports.com. "I saw footwork. I saw spacing. I saw how to use screens. That's what I saw. That's what's different from a lot of kids who came up during my era. They saw the highlights, but I saw how he got to those highlights." CBSSports.com

Any rumor missing? E-mail us at   hoopshype@hoopshype.com.