En route to his 20th career triple-double, the 36-year-old Bryant earned his 6,000th career assist midway through the third quarter of L.A.’s 129-122 overtime win over the Raptors.
It made him the first player in NBA history with that many assists and at least 30,000 career points.
“It’s a huge honor. It means I pass more than people say,” Bryant said after the game about the milestone.
Regarding how he evaluates the 6,000-assist plateau against his scoring accolades, Bryant said: “One is more in your control than the other. I prefer things to be under my control. But yeah, the assists [milestone] is actually more enjoyable because it means guys are playing with confidence and they’re more involved. They emotionally feel better. They get more excited, more into the game. It makes playing more enjoyable.”
Bryant, now in his 19th season, entered the game with 32,123 career regular-season points.
It represented another mark for Bryant against the Raptors, against whom he scored a career-high 81 points in 2006, still his most in any NBA game.
“He’s just an amazing basketball player. That’s the bottom line. He’s had an unbelievable career. He’s still going pretty strong,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “There’s a lot left in that tank, it’s obvious. His accomplishments are just fantastic. To watch him continue to compete the way that he does at this level is remarkable.”
Bryant finished with 31 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists on 11-for-24 shooting in Sunday’s win.
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