Kobe Bryant, career leader in missed shots, discusses the ones he wishes he could take back


Kobe Bryant became the all-time leader in missed shots on Tuesday, but that dubious place in the record book wouldn’t be his if not for the other side of that coin.

Bryant, of course, is one of the game’s all-time greats, and along with legends like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Jordan, may be one of its greatest scorers.

There’s no question he enjoys taking the bulk of his team’s shots, but at the same time, there have been plenty of instances when there was simply no better option. Bryant detailed some of those when speaking to reporters following Tuesday night’s loss in Memphis.

From Bill Oram of the Orange County Register:

Bryant was asked if, in those 13,421 misses, any particular ones stood out. Meaning, any shots he would really, really like back?

“Yeah, all the ones where I’ve had to bail the team out at the end of the shot clock,” he said. “It annoys the crap out of me. Kills my field goal percentage.”

Bryant may have been joking here, but only to a certain extent.

There have been a veritable ton of Lakers possessions that have ended exactly the way Bryant describes. Passes go in and out of the post, maybe around the perimeter, and then when no teammate ends up with a good look, the ball ends up in Bryant’s hands with a couple of ticks remaining on the shot clock, and he forces one up — often times while heavily contested, and plenty of them coming from well beyond three-point distance.

While we’re here, it feels fitting to include Michael Jordan’s famous quote about missing so many shots in his career, which is imprinted on a wall inside the Jordan Hangar space in West Los Angeles.


Dirk Nowitzki breaks record for points by international player


Dirk Nowitzki, one of the NBA’s greatest offensive players and global ambassadors, has cemented his status in the league’s record books.

By scoring 17 points against the Kings tonight, the Mavericks star passed Hakeem Olajuwon for most points by an international player:

Player Birthplace Points
Dirk Nowitzki Germany 26947
Hakeem Olajuwon Nigeria 26946
Tim Duncan U.S. Virgin Islands 24962
Patrick Ewing Jamaica 24815
Rolando Blackman Panama 17623
Steve Nash Canada 17387
Pau Gasol Spain 16723
Tony Parker France 16157
Kiki Vandeweghe Germany 15980
Detlef Schrempf Germany 15761

Fittingly, Nowitzki’s record-breaking points came on a mid-range jumper, his signature shot. Nowitzki uses his 7-foot height to take shots over defenders unlike anyone has before him. It’s a style developed in Europe, where big men were more commonly taught skills outside the paint.

As Nowitzki’s style has influenced the NBA, he has helped spread the league’s profile overseas. Germany, thanks to Vandeweghe and Schrempf, already had an NBA presence, but Nowitzki took it to a whole other level.

Of course, Nowitzki’s impact is felt here, too. With a championship and increasingly impressive career marks, Nowitzki has a strong résumé when it comes to debating the all-time greats. He now ranks ninth all-time in points:

Player Points
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 38387
Karl Malone 36928
Michael Jordan 32292
Kobe Bryant 31859
Wilt Chamberlain 31419
Shaquille O’Neal 28596
Moses Malone 27409
Elvin Hayes 27313
Dirk Nowitzki 26947
Hakeem Olajuwon 26946

If Nowitzki matches his scoring total from last season, he’ll pass Elvin Hayes, Moses Malone and Shaquille O’Neal for sixth all time.

Nowitzki is headed to the Hall of Fame. There’s no question about that.

But his legacy – both in terms of on-court brilliance and international impact – isn’t yet fully determined. At 36, he’s still excelling, and with his consistent jumper, no end is in sight.

Kobe Bryant sets all-time record for misses


Kobe Bryant set the NBA record for missed shots his way – inefficiently.

Needing 13 misses entering the night to break the record, Kobe raced to tie John Havlicek’s mark. The Lakers superstar missed his 12th shot against the Grizzlies with 2:49 left in the third quarter. But he drew a couple fouls to close the period and began the fourth quarter on the bench, leaving history to wait.

Finally, 15 seconds after re-entering the game, Kobe missed a 14-footer with 6:22 to take sole possession the record. It took longer than expected, but basketball immortality was his as his stat line hit 7-for-20.

Here’s the all-time leader board:

Player From To G FG FGA Missed shots
Kobe Bryant 1997 2015 1252 11118 24536 13418
John Havlicek 1963 1978 1270 10513 23930 13417
Elvin Hayes 1969 1984 1303 10976 24272 13296
Karl Malone 1986 2004 1476 13528 26210 12682
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 1970 1989 1560 15837 28307 12470
Michael Jordan 1985 2003 1072 12192 24537 12345
Dominique Wilkins 1983 1999 1074 9963 21589 11626
Elgin Baylor 1959 1972 846 8693 20171 11478
Allen Iverson 1997 2010 914 8467 19906 11439
Wilt Chamberlain 1960 1973 1045 12681 23497 10816
Vince Carter 1999 2015 1155 8431 19088 10657
Kevin Garnett 1996 2015 1383 10329 20771 10442
Dirk Nowitzki 1999 2015 1196 9467 19860 10393
Ray Allen 1997 2014 1300 8567 18955 10388
Alex English 1977 1991 1193 10659 21036 10377
Hal Greer 1959 1973 1122 8504 18811 10307
Bob Cousy 1951 1970 924 6168 16468 10300
Hakeem Olajuwon 1985 2002 1238 10749 20991 10242
Paul Pierce 1999 2015 1184 8228 18417 10189
Oscar Robertson 1961 1974 1040 9508 19620 10112
Jerry West 1961 1974 932 9016 19032 10016
Gary Payton 1991 2007 1335 8708 18698 9990
Moses Malone 1977 1995 1329 9435 19225 9790
Dolph Schayes 1950 1964 996 5863 15427 9564
Patrick Ewing 1986 2002 1183 9702 19241 9539

As Kurt wrote earlier, Kobe set this record only because he was the Lakers’ go-to scorer so long. Lesser players don’t get the opportunity to miss so many shots. The above list is full of Hall of Famers and future Hall of Famers for a reason.

But Kobe’s gunning stands alone now in history with a record he could hold for quite some time.

Kobe could set record for most missed shots in NBA history tonight


Unlucky 13.

When Kobe Bryant misses 13 more shots — which could happen Tuesday night against a strong Memphis defense — he will pass Celtics’ legend John Havlicek’s NBA record of 13,417 missed shots. (For the record, Kobe has done it in 19 fewer games.) Nobody in NBA history will have had more shots clank off the rim.

The fact that within a week he will own that record one way or another speaks to everything Kobe. The good and the bad intermingled and inseparable. And the fact that you know he doesn’t care about that number.

You don’t get this kind of record without having a long career in which coaches and a franchise want the ball in your hands — and that doesn’t happen if you’re not elite. Everybody near the top of this list is in the Hall of Fame (Kobe will be). Kobe will go down as one of the greatest Lakers of all time, one of the game’s great players of all time. For most of his 19 seasons the Lakers have trusted Kobe to take any shot he thought he could make — and Kobe’s supreme confidence means he thought he could make some high difficulty shots.

And he did. His aggressive style and fearlessness — combined with fundamentally sound footwork and form honed over countless hours in the gym — have made him a must-watch player. He filled Staples Center and won titles not because he could just take those shots but make them.

But that confidence doesn’t always lead to the best shot choices, which leads to misses. So far this young season Kobe has taken 35.2 percent of his shots as long twos (16 feet out to the arc) and while he’s hit an impressive 46 percent of those, that is still a lot of misses. There’s a reason it’s the shot the advanced stats crowd wants teams to avoid, but Kobe goes there. This is not a new trend, for his career, Kobe has taken 28.2 percent of his shots as long twos, a higher percentage than anywhere else on the court.

This record is a bit of a Rorschach test — what you think of Kobe missing that many shots really speaks to what you think of Kobe more than the record itself. If you think Kobe is an inefficient ball hog this confirms your suspicions. If you believe Kobe is a great player who was usually always the best scoring option on any team he was on, this record is just the waste byproduct of his drive and willingness to take on the offensive load.

As always with Kobe, the answers are not simple, and not located on either extreme. This record will just be part of a complex and fascinating legacy for Bryant.

Rick Fox, last summer: ‘would not put it past’ Kobe to end his career playing for a team other than the Lakers


Kobe Bryant has one year remaining on his contract with the Lakers beyond this current season, and once that year is finished, it’s likely that Bryant’s Hall of Fame career will have similarly concluded, as well.

Bryant has said that he could physically play beyond his contract, but more recently, stated it’s not something that he envisions.

Whether he does or does not choose to pursue an additional year or two following the expiration of his current contract may be up for some internal debate; what’s far more certain is that if there are additional seasons to be played, Bruant will be playing them as a member of the Lakers.

He’s stated it again and again, most recently in an interview with Sam Amick of USA Today.

“It’s not going to happen,” Bryant told USA TODAY Sports when asked if the temptation to change teams might still grow from here. “It’s not going to happen. You go through the good times, you’ve got to go through the bad times.”

“It’s not going to happen,” he continued after finishing with 21 points, six rebounds and four assists against the Hornets,. “I have a no-trade clause. (Lakers governor) Jeanie (Buss) and (Lakers executive vice president of basketball operations) Jimmie (Buss) aren’t sending me anywhere.”

Rick Fox, who played alongside Bryant for seven seasons in Los Angeles, spoke on the subject before the season began, but it’s relevant once again now that rumors of Bryant being traded to the Knicks have begun to surface. In an appearance with Larry King (via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News), Fox said he wouldn’t put it past Bryant to ultimately leave the Lakers in pursuit of one more title before he calls it quits.

Mindful that Bryant’s two-year, $48.5 million contract ends following the 2015-16 season, former Lakers teammate Rick Fox hardly dismissed the idea he would leave the Lakers to finish out his career pursuing more NBA championships.

“I would not put it past him,” Fox said in a recent appearance with Larry King …

“”If there is not a real opportunity for [Bryant] to win a championship there, the thought of him leaving may shock Lakers fans,” Fox said. “But I wouldn’t put it past him going in search of one or two more championships. Personally, I think it’s going to get done in New York. I really do. I just believe in Phil. I’ve been around him. I know Kobe has had his greatest success with Phil in a leadership capacity. So the reuniting of the two is not an unrealistic thought.”

Except that it is.

If Bryant remains healthy and can play at the level he has to begin this season, which has put him at second in the league in scoring thus far behind only Stephen Curry, then maybe he decides to push it for one more year — especially if someone like Kevin Love, for example, were to suddenly become one of his teammates.

But if Bryant does continue his career, it will be in Los Angeles; he’s never wavered on that in the slightest.