It took him 17 years -- fighting and clawing every night -- but the competitive genius of Kobe Bryant wouldn't take a day off.
Bryant scored 29 points Wednesday night in a 103-87 victory over the New Orleans Hornets to become the youngest player in NBA history to reach 30,000 points in a career.
At 34 years and 104 days old, Bryant surpassed the old mark held by Wilt Chamberlain (35 years, 179 days).
Only three other Hall of Famers -- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone and Michael Jordan -- have reached 30,000. Bryant probably would have to stay healthy for at least another four seasons to come close to Abdul-Jabbar's all-time NBA scoring record of 38,387 points, but for now, 30,000 represents a good time to reflect and take a bow.
"That's pretty awesome," Bryant said. "These are players I respect tremendously and honestly grew up idolizing and learning a great deal from. It's a tremendous honor. I've just been very, very fortunate."
In terms of number of games played, Bryant (1,180 games) was the fifth fastest to the 30K mark, behind Chamberlain (941), Jordan (960), Abdul-Jabbar (1,101) and Malone (1,152).
Bryant entered the game needing 13 points to reach 30,000. He had eight in the first quarter and then broke through with a floating jumper in the lane over Robin Lopez with 1:16 left in the second quarter.
"I could hear the excitement from the crowd," Bryant said. "I was very appreciative of it. It's been a lot of hard work, a lot of year-in, year-out (work), continuing to push."
Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni, whose team won for only the second time in seven road games, said what he most appreciates about Bryant is his tunnel vision and competitiveness.
"It's remarkable -- and he's dealt with five championships," D'Antoni said. "That's the whole thing. It's not just individual stuff but what he does for the team."
Dwight Howard, who had 18 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots, said what he has grown to love from watching Bryant day after day is his attitude of never taking a vacation from the business at hand.
"He plays hard, night in and night out," Howard said. "It's a lot of points -- for anybody. It's well-deserved. He got his milestone. Now it's time to get something else."
The Lakers (9-10) trailed 48-47 at halftime but scored the first 13 points of the third quarter in a 4:07 span to take command.
Lakers forward Antawn Jamison said he's never seen a more dogged competitor than Bryant.
"He's had five rings, and he's not satisfied with that," Jamison said. "He wants two more."
Ryan Anderson led the Hornets (5-12) with a game-high 31 points.
"(Kobe is) a special player," Anderson said. "He deserves all the recognition that he gets."
Bryant flashed a big smile in the locker room.
"Throughout my career, I never really thought about (scoring records)," he said. "I just played year in and year out, and what comes, comes. Now, honestly, I don't know why I'm still working as hard as I am after 17 years. I enjoy what I do, and I think that's the thing I'm most proud of -- every day working hard at it. That's a lot of years I've worked."