Kobe Bryant Becomes Lakers’ Second All-Time Assists Leader in Loss to Rockets

While he may not be known as an unselfish player, Lakers legend Kobe Bryant has officially cemented his status as one of the most effective passers in franchise history.

According to the Los Angeles Daily News, Bryant became the second all-time assists leader in Los Angeles Lakers history during Sunday’s 112-95 loss to the Houston Rockets at the Staples Center.

The “Black Mamba” is generally known for having a ball-hog mentality, but his astounding longevity has helped him slowly climb the list of franchise assist leaders, eclipsing several legends along the way.

On Sunday, Bryant finally reached second on the all-time Lakers list with 6,244 assists. His nine dishes against Houston allowed him to pass long-time mentor and former Lakers executive Jerry West on the list, who boasts 6,238 career assists.

“It means a lot. It’s an accomplishment I’m really really proud of,” Bryant said. “You have to be able to make plays and make passes and have the defense fear you as a passer. If they don’t, you can’t score 40 points. You can’t score 50 points.”

Jerry “The Logo” West was widely regarded for his passing abilities throughout his career, which makes Bryant’s assist numbers as a volume-shooter even more impressive.

However, Bryant will never catch Magic Johnson on the Lakers’ all-time assist rankings, who accumulated a staggering 10,141 assists before retiring.

Bryant’s resurgence in 2015-2016 is a welcome sight for Lakers fans, many of whom doubted that the legendary shooting guard would ever play again after he ruptured his Achilles tendon last year.

Approximately one in two Americans say that pain is part of life, while another 41% believe pain is a standard part of the aging process. For Bryant, pain comes with the territory, and he’s been battling nagging injuries for most of his career.

In fact, Bryant almost missed Sunday’s showdown with Houston after re-aggravating his injury the previous night. According to ESPN, Bryant left Saturday night’s game against the Utah Jazz, saying that he “jammed” his Achilles in its early stages.

“Jammed it up pretty good,” Bryant told reporters after the game. “Couldn’t shake it loose.”

It seemed as if Kobe was back to being Kobe during the onset of Sunday’s loss to the Rockets, and the Lakers went into halftime trailing by just three points. Despite the hot start, Houston opened the third quarter on a 9-0 run and never looked back.

Bryant finished the game with five points and nine assists. While it’s a forgettable stat line for one of the greatest NBA players ever, his ascendance into Lakers immortality by surpassing “The Logo” himself is something to be remembered.