Saturday Special: Thinking About Milestones

Darius Soriano —  January 8, 2011

Watching Kobe climb up the ladder of all-time scorers has been a great sight the past couple of years.  When you look at the list of all time scorers and see the players that he’s passed, names like Bird, Baylor, Robertson, and West you realize how special a ride it’s been.  And then when you look above him and see how close he is to surpassing names like Hakeem, Shaq, Wilt, and Jordan it’s mind-blowing.  When he came to the Lakers in the 1996 draft, I’m not sure anyone envisioned this storied a career in both team and individual success.  And the man is still going.

But go back and look at the top of that scoring list.  The name you see is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.  It’d take an epic (and extended) finishing kick for Kobe to get to that level.  As it stands now, Kobe is nearly 12,000 points from Kareem’s mark of 38,387 points.  That’s six 2,000 point seasons worth of scoring (or a 24.4 point average over a full 82 game season).  Of course it’s possible that Kobe do it (I put nothing past him), but I’m not sure it’s likely.

And when really reflecting on that, I just wanted to again give the man at the top of the list that Kobe continues to climb his due.  Kareem is often left out of the conversation of greatest players ever and that’s a shame.  The other day, when discussing the rebounding inadequacies of Brook Lopez, Nets GM Billy King (in an attempt to give his young Center some cover) said that “Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, as great a scorer as he was, he wasn’t a great rebounder.”  Really? He’s only 3rd all time in total rebounds and his career average of 11.2 ranks in the top 25.  As our memory starts to fade, it’s easy to forget such things.  But I still remember.  And you should too.  So here’s a short video of one of the all-time best:

Darius Soriano

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to Saturday Special: Thinking About Milestones

  1. To the F&B Family. Hope you enjoy this!

    The Legend of Kobe Bryant (first draft):

    I had a dream the other day that the Lakers played the Celtics in the Finals. A couple of minutes into the third quarter Kobe has the ball by the 3-pt line, off to the right side of the basket, looking to attack the rim. He’s guarded by none other than Paul Pierce. He does one of his famous pump-fakes and gets Pierce out of position, takes a dribble and the two steps that normally follow a drive to the basket, and elevates to shoot an off-balance, semi-one-handed shot that’s so typical of him. Pierce, beaten, can do nothing other than foul him now, because he’s not allowed to give Kobe any freebies. He does just that and hits Kobe from behind. Kobe hits the floor, face down, and Pierce comes down on top of him. He gets a hold of Kobe’s right hand and holds it behind Kobe’s back, using his (Pierce) own body to block the closest referee’s view so that she can’t see his shenanigans. Kobe’s hand is now “sandwiched” in between his own body and that of Pierce’s.

    From the view coming from the cameraman seated on the floor behind the basket, it’s obvious that Pierce is up to no good. Television viewers could see he was up to no good down there on top of Kobe Bryant; and even if they could not see exactly what he was doing, his face showed a mischievous grin, showing his top-row teeth, with his bottom lip covering is bottom-row. Kobe is screaming in pain.

    Suddenly, Pierce wipes the grin off his face. He appears startled and gets up quick. He is holding something in his hand and is in shock; his eyes opened wide. At the same time there is a feeling-soaked sound coming from the crowd that we hardly ever hear in games. The same sound and feeling that accompanied the departure of the Clipper’s Shaun Livingston’s knee.

    When Paul Pierce realizes what he’s holding in his hand–it takes him a couple of seconds–he lets it drop and runs towards the Celtics bench.

    It was………..

    Kobe Bryant’s finger!!!


    I dreamed this the other day.

    And all I could remember thinking as I witnessed this in dream form was: Oh damn…….now the Celtics are in trouble. Kobe is gonna be soooooo pissed! The Lakers are gonna win! The Lakers are gonna win!

    To this day I don’t know if the dream version of Paul Pierce was really afraid of what he had just done, or if he was afraid of the consequences a mad Kobe Bryant brings to the court. I don’t know if he really regrets severing Kobe’s finger, or if he regrets pissing Kobe off and bringing out Black Mamba. I guess some things are not really meant to be understood.

    Such is the legend of Kobe Bryant.


  2. 1 – Being that basketball has always been my favorite sport I have had many basketball related dreams. But I have never had any dream like yours!

    Regarding Kareem:
    One of the reasons I like this site is I can get insight from seasoned Laker fans like Craig W. and others. I was introduced to basketball as a kid during the Showtime era of the 1980’s. I never got a chance to see Wilt, West, Baylor, The Big O, and other legends. My dad, uncles and many others have always told me that people who didn’t see Kareem in the 70’s really don’t appreciate just how special he was. Just his numbers alone are mind boggling.

    A very strong case can be made that Kareem was the greatest basketball player ever. We Laker fans have to make sure other hoops fans give the credit where it is due.

    Good job, Darius.


  3. I wish you could’ve been in the dream, T. Rogers. You could sense the suspense in Staples Center. It was the experience of a lifetime.

    Everyone knew what was coming to the Celtics. And there was a loud chant of: De-fend-the-court! De-fend-the-court! De-fend-the-court!


  4. What the link above says, I assume.

    Los Angeles Lakers forward Matt Barnes suffered a tear of the lateral meniscus in his right knee in Friday’s game against the New Orleans Hornets, an MRI revealed Saturday.Barnes will undergo surgery sometime early next week at which point the team will provide a timetable for his return.


  5. you know what, with luke coming in I can live. Ebanks will get some good burn too hopefully!

    Also, that video gave me shivers at a few parts, wish I’d been alive back then!


  6. Can Luke/Devin make up for Matt’s hustle? Somehow I doubt it.. but maybe they’ll improve us in another way that will counterbalance what we lost.


  7. I’ll have some thoughts up on Barnes later this evening. For now, let me know in the comments what you think will happen with the team.


  8. Kobe’s MPG are about to go up . . . he’ll get a good portion of the SF minutes for a few weeks.

    I’d like to see Lamar get some time at SF, but LAL doesn’t have enough bigs on the bench right now . . .


  9. As for the Barnes injury, maybe this will get Artest more focused cause I’m sure he’ll get more minutes now. I have 0 confidence in Ebanks filling in, and if you’ve been following my comments on this board over the years, you would know that Walton is probably my least favorite Laker. What SF is out there that we can get?


  10. I think we will see more of Ebanks than Luke. Ebanks will be our athletic wingman defender.

    Anyone know how long Barnes will be out? I personally think this is a severe blow to our team. Barnes arguably is the most consistent in terms of hustle.


  11. Rudy, we’re not going to ‘get’ anyone. SF is arguably our deepest position. As others have mentioned, Kobe, Luke, and the rook are all gonna soak up a few minutes.


  12. I’m not too worried (as usual), unless this turns out to be a longterm thing. Barnes has been great for the Lakers, but they can handle part of the regular season without him.

    The important thing is that they get him back before the play-offs, and preferably a few weeks before that so he has time to get into a rhythm.

    Fortunately, it seems like being in good condition helps with the recovery time. But we’ll have to hope that the injury is not of the more severe kind, as it seems like the recovery time can vary greatly:

    “Post-operative protocols vary but the majority of patients will be asked to follow a strict physiotherapy regime and avoid contact sports for six months, as opposed to partial meniscectomy when patients can resume normal activities after two weeks.”


  13. Reign on Parades January 8, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    I’m very worried because Barnes has been our most productive SF by a long shot

    Either Phil’s strategy of force feeding Walton minutes is going to pay off now or we’re all going to wish Ebanks had usurped him on the depth chart


  14. Phil needs to give the opportunity to Artest to increase his role get into a grove and an opportunity to Ebanks to show what he do. I really hope Phil decides to play Ebanks. Ebanks will bring much need athleticism to that forward position. Ebanks played well in his time in the D-League and the few minutes he has played with the Lakers.
    I believe the worst thing Phil can do is increase Kobe’s minutes at the 3 position. Kobe’s knee is sore so putting unnecessary wear and tear would be a mistake. I’m confident Ron can handle more than his 27 mpg average so far this season.


  15. I’d like to say I’m not worried, but unfortunately I can’t. Barnes brings does something our other players routinely do not and that’s cut to the basket. The offense isn’t stagnant when he’s out there because he’s always moving. Shannon does this a little bit, but he’s more content to shoot the jumper now. Barnes also gets a good number of rebounds that help to spark our transition game. Not saying he’s a better player than Artest, but definitely a more cerebral one in that he can see the play ahead of it happening. Luke will get some more burn, but he’s also up in there with his back problems. It just means Kobe will play more minutes. We’ve got that trade exception but as said before its unlikely we use it for another 3 as that is the deepest position on the team. Hopefully Barnes is back for playoff time.


  16. I wasn’t alive at the time, but the assertion that Kareem was not a good rebounder is easy to disprove (his career average is one way). All you have to do is look it up and see that he averaged over 14 rbs/game for the first 7 years he was in the league, 4 of those years he averaged over 16. That seems like a pretty good rebounder to me.

    Barnes being out is a blow, he’s really the only guy on the team who can good things simply by hustling on out team consistently.


  17. I just hope Matt can be back for the playoffs. It wouldn’t hurt to bring Devin back. When you consider the way the guys have played as of late, can Ebanks really hurt? Sure, he is a rook. But he can contribute some valuable minutes here and there.


  18. If the Lakers decide to add another player they have the $5,475,311 Sasha Vujacic trade exception that they can use. It is doubtful they will add another player because of the luxury tax but it is an option the team has.


  19. Re: Kareem not a good rebounder

    Bill Simmons in his “Book of Basketball” asserts (with some evidence) that Kareem is remembered as a poor rebounder because the NBA really took off in the Bird-Magic era.

    So the collective recollection of Kareem largely misses the first 10-12 years of his career.

    I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but Kareem dragged almost single-handed the 1974 Bucks to the NBA Finals, and take a look at the roster that Kareem lead to the 1977 Western Conference Finals:

    There’s a reason Kareem won 6 of the 10 available league MVP awards between 1971 and 1980.


  20. Well this dates me but I can still vividly remember my dad calling me downstairs to watch Lew Alcindor of the Bucks, on our little b&w zenith. Man, my young jaw hit the ground – this guy with his giant afro, chewing gum, getting elevation, snagging boards, putting up points and looking so casual doing it. The epitome of cool.


  21. Kareem was the best ever. Period.


  22. Kareem played in the era of the true center. He faced some legit foes night in and night out. And yet he stood head and shoulders above them all. Why oh why does no one shoot a sky hook today? Probably same reason so few have tried to replicate dreamshake footwork. Sound fundamentals continue to erode with each passing generation. Oh lordy lordy I’m starting to sound like my old man! HA!

    Hats off to The Captain. Hats off to Darius for the reminder of one of the greatest ever!