Kobe Bryant passed Michael Jordan (32,292) for third place on the NBA's all-time career scoring list on Sunday, in a Lakers' win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
On Monday, Bryant published his thoughts on the milestone in an essay on The Players' Tribune website; Bryant is credited as an editorial director under his byline.
The All-Star guard recalls going scoreless for an entire summer as a 12-year-old, after which he mulled giving up the sport:
"I considered maybe just giving up basketball and just focusing on soccer. Here's where my respect and admiration for [Jordan] was forged. I learned that he had been cut from his high school team as a freshman; I learned he knew what it felt like to be embarrassed, to feel like a failure. But he used those emotions to fuel him, make him stronger, he didn't quit.
"So I decided to take on my challenge the same way he did. I would channel my failure as fuel to keep my competitive fire burning. I became obsessed with proving to my family — and more importantly to myself — that I CAN DO THIS.
"It became an obsession. I learned everything about the game, the history, the players, the fundamentals. I wasn't just determined to never have a summer of zero again, I was driven to inflict the same sense of failure on my competition as they unknowingly inflicted on me. My killer instinct to score was born.
"Twenty-four years later, I pass my muse."
After converting a pair of free throws in the second quarter to overtake Jordan, Bryant finished the game with 26 and 32,310 career points.
He's now behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and Karl Malone (36,928).
Bryant has just one year left on his contract after this season. Reaching Malone may be a long shot, unless Bryant decides to continue his career past the 2015-16 season.
The Lakers (8-16) get back to work on Monday night, visiting the Indiana Pacers (7-17).