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'Don't F this up!' Kobe Bryant hit another big milestone with these free throws last night
The all-time points list now reads Jordan: 32,292, Bryant: 32,310.

NBA / YouTube

KOBE BRYANT PASSED the great Michael Jordan on Sunday and moved into third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

Bryant needed nine points against the Minnesota Timberwolves to surpass Jordan’s career total of 32,292.

He tied and passed the Hall of Famer with a pair of free throws that gave the Los Angeles Lakers a 38-32 lead with 5:24 remaining in the second quarter.

He finished with 26 points, including a go-ahead three-pointer lofted over Andrew Wiggins with 1:02 to play, as the Lakers triumphed 100-94.

“I’m just honoured to be here and still be playing,” said Bryant, who was limited to just six games by injury last season. “Careers don’t usually last this long.

“I really, really appreciate the opportunity to be out there playing and performing and doing what I do.”

Lakers Timberwolves Basketball AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Bryant, with 32,310 points, now sits behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with 38,387 and Karl Malone with 36,928 on the all-time list.

The 36-year-old, known for his ice-cool performances under pressure, admitted he felt a flutter of nerves when he stepped to the line for the potentially history-making free throws.

“You get up there and the crowd’s really waiting to see you score nine points, so don’t ‘F’ this up and completely kill the moment,” he said of his thoughts at the free throw line.

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The moment sparked a mini-celebration, bringing cheering fans to their feet as he was awarded a game ball and congratulated by team-mates and opponents.

Lakers Timberwolves Basketball AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Jordan, now owner of the Charlotte Hornets, congratulated Bryant in a statement:

“I congratulate Kobe on reaching this milestone. 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.”

© AFP 2014; First published 11.04

Andy Lee front page on the Limerick Leader is an absolute gem