Minneapolis, MN (SportsNetwork.com) - Kobe Bryant passed Michael Jordan on the NBA's all-time scoring list, then won the game for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Bryant scored 26, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with about a minute remaining and the Lakers beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 100-94 on Sunday in an historic game for the veteran guard.
Bryant passed Jordan for third place on the points list with a pair of free throws in the second quarter.
Later, his deep 3 over Andrew Wiggins with 1:02 left came as the shot clock was winding down, giving the Lakers a 97-94 lead.
He ended his 1,269th NBA game with 32,310 points and trails only Kareem Abdul- Jabbar and Karl Malone in NBA history.
"I'm just honored to be here and still be playing," Bryant said. "Careers don't usually last this long."
Jordan scored 32,292 points in 1,072 career games for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards, averaging 30.1 per game.
He congratulated Bryant in a statement released to The Associated Press.
"He's obviously a great player, with a strong work ethic and has an equally strong passion for the game of basketball," Jordan's statement said in part. "I've enjoyed watching his game evolve over the years, and I look forward to seeing what he accomplishes next."
Passing Jordan this season was an inevitability for Bryant as long as he remained healthy.
He entered the game needing just nine points. After knocking down a 3 from the left corner, he nearly did it on a patented turnaround jumper on the next trip down the court, but it rattled out.
"I thought that was the shot," said Byron Scott, who played his final NBA season for the Lakers when Bryant was a rookie and now coaches the future Hall of Famer.
"I guess my second choice would be he gets fouled and goes to the free throw line."
After Bryant made the foul shots with 5:24 remaining in the first half, the game was stopped for several minutes as players from both teams offered him congratulations and he was given the game ball.
Praise arrived via social media, too, with LeBron James calling Bryant a living legend in a congratulatory tweet.
"He's had an unbelievable career," Scott said of Bryant. "I'm just happy that I was able to share (it) him at the beginning of his career and to this point as well.
"I was there when he made his first basket and going on 18 years, this is where he is."
The Lakers have won three in a row for the first time since Nov. 17-24, 2013. Carlos Boozer added 22 points and 13 rebounds in the win.
Shabazz Muhammad had 28 points and nine rebounds off the bench to lead the Timberwolves, who are 1-8 since a 120-119 win over the Lakers in Los Angeles on Nov. 28. They went 1-3 on a four-game homestand.
Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine, who was born about 15 months before Bryant was drafted, said he grew up a fan.
"Passing Michael Jordan is a big feat. Not many people do that," LaVine said. "I mean, like, ever."
Abdul-Jabbar ranks first on the scoring list with 38,387 points and Malone is second with 36,928 ... The Lakers stopped a three-game losing streak in the series ... The Lakers finish a three-game road trip on Monday against Indiana ... The Timberwolves visit Washington on Tuesday.