Also, Bryant would need the cooperation of his teammates, and his relationship with them, particularly power forward Lamar Odom and point guard Smush Parker, remains iffy. They love his talent, hate his propensities for criticizing them and ignoring them during games. Would the other Lakers let him get 100? Scottie Pippen, who was famously the "other star" when Jordan was in his prime, watched the game on TV and said on Cold Pizza the following day, "[With Michael] you wanted to feed him the ball. You wanted to see him succeed.... You look at a player like Lamar Odom.... He didn't really step up in the game last night. He didn't seem like he wanted to play a role."
And would Jackson let Bryant get 100? Their relationship was volatile, to say the least, before this season, but it's better now-Kobe's talent and toughness have earned Jackson's respect. On Monday, Jackson was asked if he could envision a 100-point scenario. "Well, I don't think anyone, in this era, could imagine that," he said. "Then again, I couldn't have imagined 81 either."
Neither could Bryant. "To sit here and say I grasp what happened would be lying," he said on Sunday. "Not even in my dreams." But now that he has 81, you can bank this: Some of Kobe's dreams have three digits.
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]
Kobe Bryant was 27 years and five months old on the night he dropped 81 on the Toronto Raptors. Here's how his career numbers stack up against those of Michael Jordan at the same age.