MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Kobe Bryant has reached rarefied air.
The Los Angeles Lakers star passed Michael Jordan for third on the NBA's career scoring list Sunday night in a 100-94 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Bryant entered the game needing nine points to pass the icon with whom he is often compared. He got the mark with two free throws with 5:24 to play in the second quarter.
"I'm just honored to be here, man, to still be playing," Bryant said. "I appreciate being able to play this long. Careers normally don't last this long. I really appreciate the opportunity to still be out there playing and performing and doing what I do."
Now only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone have scored more points than Bryant.
"I congratulate Kobe on reaching this milestone," Jordan, the owner of the Charlotte Hornets, said in a statement released to The Associated Press. "He's obviously a great player, with a strong work ethic and has an equally strong passion for the game of basketball. I've enjoyed watching his game evolve over the years, and I look forward to seeing what he accomplishes next."
Bryant didn't break a record Sunday night. Abdul-Jabbar is still more than 6,000 points ahead of him and in no danger of being caught. But moving past Jordan was cause for celebration.
The two players have been linked for years and Bryant often mimicked Jordan from his earliest days in the league, from the way he pumped his fist after big shots to adopting the fade-away jumper as his career has progressed and even sprinkling in a little tongue-wagging on his drives to the bucket as a youth.
"He knows how much I've learned from him," Bryant said. "From the other legends, but him in particular."
The Timberwolves stopped the game, and a Lakers-heavy crowd gave Bryant a standing ovation as Wolves owner Glen Taylor — the NBA's chairman of the board — presented him with the game ball.
With a big smile on his face, Bryant received hugs from teammates and the Timberwolves, and waved to the crowd during the brief stoppage.
Bryant has been chasing Jordan for almost two decades now. He's still one title short of the six Jordan won with the Bulls, but has now caught Jordan in the game's defining individual statistic.
Bryant had 32,284 points when he took the floor against a Timberwolves team that includes 19-year-old rookies Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine, two players who were barely born when Bryant made his NBA debut in 1996.
He missed four of his first five field goals, but knocked down a 3-pointer midway through the second quarter to pull within two points. He nearly passed Jordan with one of his patented fall-away jumpers from the baseline, but it rimmed out and with 5:24 to play and 24 seconds on the shot clock, No. 24 stepped to the line and calmly swished two freebies to do it. He finished the night with 26 points and 32,310 for his career.
It took Bryant 1,269 games to reach the NBA's career scoring podium. Jordan amassed his 32,292 points in 1,039 regular-season games.
Jordan moved into third place in 2003, and the top of the NBA's scoring mountain had remained unchanged for nearly 12 years. Ever since Bryant really started to hit his stride as an elite scorer beginning with his fourth year in the league, he was widely considered the one to the record books would have to reserve a spot for.
"Just like we've never seen another player like Michael Jordan, we will never see another player like Kobe Bryant!" Lakers Hall of Famer Magic Johnson tweeted.
Jordan retired and came back twice, giving up prime years that cost him a shot at Abdul-Jabbar's record. Jordan also played three years of college while Bryant jumped straight to the pros and started racking up the points, albeit at a gradual rate.
But Bryant endured his own hardship as he rose up the ranks. His aggressive climb up the scoring ladder was stunted as he dealt with major injuries to his Achilles tendon and knee that limited him to six games last season. He has returned this season as ferocious as ever, but has struggled with efficiency while shooting a ghastly 38.7 percent.
Moving any further up the list will be a challenge. Malone (36,928) is more than 4,500 points ahead of the 36-year-old Bryant for second place and Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) is on top of the mountain by a healthy margin.
If Bryant couldn't surpass Jordan at home, and he couldn't do it against the long-time rival Celtics in Boston, what better place than Minneapolis, the birth place of the Lakers franchise. The famed "Laker Nation" is as strong here as it is in any road venue, with thousands of fans wearing purple and gold every time they come through town.
Bryant's first career game came against the Timberwolves as an 18-year-old in 1996, when he went scoreless in six minutes.
The vast majority of the fans who come to Target Center in Lakers gear weren't around when uprooted and moved to Los Angeles after the 1959-60 season. They come not to see a team that brought five championships to the city between 1948 and 1954.
They come to see Kobe, and he gave them all a little history to remember on Sunday night.
"I think it puts him in the conversation of who is the greatest," Lakers coach Byron Scott said. "I think his name's going to be mentioned when it's all said and done. His goal is still to win another championship or two, so we'll have to wait until the book is completed, but as I said at the beginning of the season, he still has a lot left in the tank."
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A new federally funded cellphone app allows people who may have had one too many to get an idea just how drunk they are — and hail a ride home.
Users enter their sex, height, weight, and number of drinks consumed to help figure out their blood-alcohol level. They also can play two interactive games to test reaction time and cognitive agility. And the app uses GPS technology to call cabs and pre-load phone numbers for potential designated drivers.
The app, called ENDUI — pronounced "End DUI" — was announced Thursday by government and police officials in Maryland. Funded by federal money reserved for drunken-driving education efforts, the app is among several in a handful of states to tackle drunken driving — though Maryland's is one of the most elaborate.
"It's unique," said Kara Macek, a spokeswoman at the Governors Highway Safety Association, which funded the new app, developed by the Maryland Highway Safety Office for about $50,000.
"I think states are starting to go that route because they're trying to reach consumers where they are and where they spend time, and everyone spends time on their phone," Macek said. "I think we're going to see more of that as we go forward."
States with similar apps include New York, New Mexico, Colorado, and California, which launched its version two weeks ago.
Like the other states, Maryland's app is available for free on Android and iPhone.
One of the games on the app involves pressing a red "brake" button when an image of a pedestrian passes by or a car ahead stops. The app says just how fast — or slow — users react and how much time their car would have needed to avoid a collision.
The other game shows nine road signs that blink in different order; users try to recall the order, which gets increasingly challenging with each round — with or without drinks.
"The game is meant to be a hook and pull you in," said Tom Gianni, chief of the Maryland Highway Safety Office. "Then it's meant to give you a lesson of, 'See what can happen. Imagine if you were behind the wheel.'"
A feature that estimates blood-alcohol levels has users enter their height and weight, and details about what kind and how many drinks they have. For instance, the app estimates that a 130-pound woman who just drank a glass of red wine would have a blood-alcohol level of .04 percent.
Though that's under Maryland's legal limit of .08 percent, the app warns that "driving ability is likely to be impaired."
"Get a cab or have someone that has not been drinking take you home," the app advises.
At nearly every step, the app warns users that no matter what the results, "driving with any amount of alcohol in your system may impair you and be illegal."
Gianni called the driving-related features the most important for someone who's been drinking.
"It kind of takes the guesswork out of a situation where you've had a few drinks and you're not sure what to," Gianni said. "This takes all the brainwork out of it."