LOS ANGELES—Wednesday, October 28, marked the season opening game for the Los Angeles Lakers. As soon as Kobe Bryant stepped on the Staples Center’s court for tip off against the Minnesota Timberwolves, he officially became the only player in NBA history to play 20 seasons for a single team.
The record was previously held by former Utah Jazz point guard John Stockton, who played from 1984-2003.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kevin Garnett, Robert Parish, and Kevin Willis, are the only four other player in NBA history who have played 20 seasons.
“It’s probably the most special one to me. I’ve always dreamed about being with one organization and being with this organization as a kid,” Bryant told reporters after the season opening game. “I’ve been in this jersey for more than half my life that’s crazy. I’m just extremely fortunate, extremely blessed to have been selected by such a class organization. Twenty years, that’s a long time to be doing anything, and in this day and age, with so much turnover in teams, I feel really, really blessed to be here 20 years.”
Bryant, a five-time NBA champion and two time NBA Finals MVP, who ended his 2014-2015 season in late January due to a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder, made his debut this opening season by reaching another milestone in his NBA career. He passed Wilt Chamberlain for the fourth-most regular-season and playoff minutes played in the NBA, according to the NBA website. Bryant reached 55,444 on-court minutes, while Chamberlain holds 55,418 minutes.
Despite the Laker’s one point loss against the Timberwolves (112-111), Bryant, 37, scored 24 points, becoming the oldest player to score that many in an opener since Karl Malone in 2000, as stated by NBA.com.
The Lakers are set to play against the Sacramento Kings on October 30 at 7 p.m. in Sacramento’s Sleep Train Arena.