Someone who knows Kobe Bryant well suggests that he has turned his attention from making his case as the NBA's all-time greatest player by surpassing Michael Jordan in championships to finishing his career as the NBA's all-time leading scorer. The reason? He has a better shot at success. It's not that Kobe won't, or can't, win another ring, but the odds are tilting heavily against him, particularly when it comes to using it as a testament to his all-time greatness. He currently has five titles to his name while Jordan has six, but Bryant can say he made it to the Finals seven times. Passing Jordan on the all-time scoring list, at his current rate, should be a snap; Bryant (30,252) is only 2,040 points behind him. If he maintains his current league-leading scoring average of 29.5, he'll start next season needing roughly 400 more points, or 14 more games at that pace, to rise above his Airness. That alone would put him in the conversation. Imagine, though, if he solidifies himself as both the greatest Laker and scorer of all time by vaulting the last two names on the scroll, Karl Malone (36,928) and Kareem (38,387). It's not the stretch it once seemed. At his current pace, he'll finish this season with nearly 32,000 points (31,903, to be exact). He'd then need to average a little over 26 points for three more seasons to match Kareem. Let's account for age -- even though this season he's defying it -- and say his average drops a couple of points every season for the next three. Let's also allow for a handful of missed games each season. Even with all that, it would take him no more than four more seasons to start sniffing 40,000 points. Knowing Kobe's mindset, this shift makes all the sense in the world because he's always been most comfortable betting on himself. He can't control what kind of team the Lakers put around him, but keeping himself and his scoring average purring along until he's 38? That IS within his control. Retiring as a Laker also makes far more sense for his legacy than chasing a ring elsewhere -- and rest assured, everything Kobe is doing now, whether it's his public compliments to the young stars coming up behind him or his measured tone as a leader or his graciousness to the media, is about polishing that legacy. I'm also told the Lakers realize that finding another box-office attraction on Kobe's level, no matter how few games they win, would be extremely difficult. And just imagine him becoming the all-time scoring leader in someone else's uniform? The Lakers would rather not. Nor would Kobe.