With his 36th point of the night — and 38,388th of his career — 38-year-old LeBron James surpassed Los Angeles Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the NBA’s all-time scoring leader. LeBron set the record on a fadeaway in the 3rd quarter of the Angeles Lakers game vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday.
With this bucket, LeBron James moves past Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer! pic.twitter.com/N6V5RxPe6r
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) February 8, 2023
The game was paused as a celebration immediately broke out at Crypto.com Arena. Kareem, who has repeatedly hailed LeBron for breaking his seemingly untouchable record, was in attendance for the occasion.
More than anything, LeBron’s record is a testament to his historical consistency and longevity — as Kareem’s feat symbolized, too. LeBron averaged 20.9 points per game as a rookie fresh out of high school and has averaged at least 25.0 PPG in 19 seasons since — a streak that seems unlikely to ever be matched. Almost exactly one year ago, LeBron passed Kareem on the career points list including playoffs. LeBron has a healthy margin over Michael Jordan on the list of most points in playoff history.
“I see it and I smirk,” LeBron told ESPN about being overlooked as one of the game’s greatest scorers. “When they talk about the best scorers who ever played the game, my name never comes up.
“They have no choice now. They have no choice.”
LeBron is in a class of his own 📈@kirkgoldsberry charts his evolution on @ESPNPlus 🔗 https://t.co/vL20shyIwD pic.twitter.com/G6sY5Lr4sN
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) January 31, 2023
LeBron is the most unstoppable transition threat in league history and remains a highly-efficient battering ram around the basket. In the second half of his career, he improved his three-point shooting, polished his post game, and deepened his midrange and fadeaway package. His career shooting splits: .505/.344/.735.
LeBron James has made 14,040 regular-season field goals.
Longest shot? 83 feet.
A look at his FGM by distance as he sits 36 points from breaking the NBA's career points record entering the @Lakers' game vs. the @okcthunder tonight at 10 p.m. ET on @NBAonTNT. pic.twitter.com/scwQecv7tc
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) February 7, 2023
LeBron is undeniably one of the greatest scorers the game has ever seen, though his case for the greatest player of all time stretches far beyond the points. In addition to all the individual and team accolades, LeBron recently moved into fourth place on the NBA’s all-time assists lists — a reflection of his other-worldly play-making and orchestration — and many of his greatest highlights are chase-down blocks.
“I’m gonna let everybody else decide where (the scoring record) puts me,” LeBron told Southern California News Group about where he falls in the GOAT discussion with Michael Jordan and Kareem. “It’s not for me to say now, ‘OK I’m this or that.’”
What I bring to the table as a basketball player … I feel like I’m the best basketball player that ever played the game. That’s just my confidence, that’s just what I bring to the table, what I possess. But as far as if the scoring record gets me to another level, I don’t know.”
Darvin Ham on LeBron and the GOAT debate: "When we talk about the impact of players, you can have a little bit of a GOAT discussion, but it's a team sport…But, impact, man-for-man, I think he's at the top of the list." pic.twitter.com/45Q19Tqvfi
— Michael Corvo (@michaelcorvoNBA) February 8, 2023
Perhaps the craziest thing? LeBron isn’t slowing down anytime soon. In Year 20, the King is having one of the most productive seasons of his career: 30.0 points, 50.5% shooting, 8.5 rebounds, 7.1 assists per game. Insane.