With 81 Points, Kobe Crushes Critics

Obviously it's impossible for Bryant or any other hard-charging player to escape the allegation of "ball hogging," and after the glow of the game wears off, the 81 points could wind up being more fodder for those who criticize Bryant for being selfish.

That's a criticism that has followed Chamberlain and only one other person on the Top 5 list. On the final day of the 1978 season, David Thompson scored 73 points in an attempt to win the league scoring title. Thompson fell short of winning the scoring title, even though he racked up 53 points in the first half.

Thompson, a prolific scorer throughout his career, was always dogged by the reputation of being a selfish player. Despite his phenomenal total on that day in 1978, he is not often mentioned among the game's greatest players of all time.

In the end, fans are likely to say: "So what?" There is nothing more energizing than to watch and get behind a talented player like Bryant who owns the court. Yes, sports isn't just about winning and losing, but any fan will tell you it's a lot more fun to win.

Now the only question is not whether, but when Bryant will go after Chamberlain's 100-point record. Neither Michael Jordan nor the league's all-time leading scorer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, ever got close.

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