The game was played in Minnesota, but most of those in the crowd at Target Center were there for Lakers star Kobe Bryant. They wanted to see a historic moment in NBA history, and Bryant didn't disappoint.
The Lakers faced off against the Minnesota Timberwolves Sunday night, and even though the Wolves lost, it was a special night for those in attendance.
Bryant needed to score nine points to surpass Michael Jordan on the NBA's all-time scoring list. And about halfway through the second quarter, he delivered by sinking two free throws.
The game stopped for a few minutes as the crowd saluted Bryant with a loud and sustained standing ovation. Bryant's teammates and Wolves players hugged him, and Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor – the chairman of the NBA's board – presented him with the game ball.
“I congratulate Kobe on reaching this milestone,” Jordan said in a statement released to the Associated Press. “He’s obviously a great player, with a strong work ethic and 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 finished the game with 26, making his career total 32,310 points so far. Nos. 1 and 2 on the list are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone.
It'll take Bryant a long time to catch up to those two, the Associated Press notes, since Malone is about 4,500 points ahead of Bryant and Abdul-Jabbar has 6,000 more points than him.
But overtaking Jordan's career scoring total was a special milestone; the two players have been linked for years, and Bryant has been chasing Jordan for almost 20 years.
Jordan still has more NBA titles than Bryant – six he won with the Bulls, compared to Bryant's five with the Lakers. But Bryant has now caught Jordan in the ultimate individual statistic, the Associated Press says.
As for the game itself, it was not very memorable for the Wolves (5-18), who have lost eight of their last nine games, according to the Star Tribune.
The Lakers took the lead late in the first quarter and held it for most of the rest of the game.
The Wolves were down by seven late in the game but rallied, to tie the score at 94 on two free throws by Andrew Wiggins with 1:22 left.
But Bryant responded with a three-pointer to put the Lakers up for good.
Shabazz Muhammad led the Timberwolves with 28 points, and also had nine rebounds. Wiggins finished with 16 points, while Zach LaVine and Corey Brewer each scored 10.