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3 charts that show how Dirk compares to Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant

With Kobe passing Jordan this weekend, here's a numerical look.

On Sunday night, Kobe Bryant passed Michael Jordan to become the third-leading scorer in NBA history. Bryant hit his second free throw, play stopped, he was presented with the ball and the internet exploded with awe or disgust at his accomplishment, depending on what side of the fence you fall on.

Dirk Nowitzki is the top active scorer behind Kobe and the no. 9 all-time scorer in the NBA, so I thought this was a good opportunity to explore how Dirk related to Bryant and Jordan on the all-time list. The one thing that Dirk has always blown past the standard is his efficiency, including a 50/40/90 season and a career field goal percentage of 47.6 percent. For a player who takes most of his shots at least 15 feet away from the basket, that's an incredible accomplishment.

I charted points per shot, which is literally what it sounds like: points divided by field goal attempts. Here are the top 10 all-time scorers in the NBA charted by points per shot and total points. Only three players fall above Dirk on the y-axis -- Shaq, Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar -- and none of them took nearly the number of jump shots as the Big German.


Bryant, drafted straight out of high school, played his first season in the NBA at the age of 18. This graph shows three things: 1) Kobe's head start, 2) Jordan's time in and out of the NBA, both going to baseball and him coming out of retirement, and 3) Dirk's remarkable, incredible consistency.


Just for fun, using the same point per shot metric as above, here's where Dirk and Jordan would fall if they had as many shot attempts as Bryant. Efficiency and volume of shots correlate so this isn't incredibly accurate (Dirk's percentage would fall if he the number of shots that Kobe did, and this chart isn't accounting for that), but it's still fun to poke a little fun at Kobe.