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.
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).