LeBron James has finally broken Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 39-year-old all-time scoring record, now with 38,388 points (and counting) to his name.
The past few months have been like a clock counting down on LeBron James as he inched closer and closer to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time scoring record.
Prior to the Lakers vs. Thunder game today, Abdul-Jabbar has held the record for most career points, with 38,387 to his name, for 39 years — LeBron James came onto the court just 36 points shy of breaking it.
With ten seconds left in the third quarter, as everyone expected, LeBron had dropped 36 points to break the record. The game was not yet over, yet the celebrations commenced like an NBA championship win.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar awarded James himself in the middle of the court, passing the crown to this generation’s greatest NBA scorer with 38,388 career points.
The best scorer in the league?
In an episode of The Shop, LeBron James openly admitted, “When they talk about the best scorers of all time, they never mention my name. It pisses me off.”
But, ever since his early days in the league, many fans and pundits, along with the superstar himself, have considered James as “more of a passer than a scorer.“
In fact, the four-time NBA champion even expressed, “I’m not a natural scorer. I love getting my guys involved, I’ve always been that way.”
However, these statements might have been selling him short, as he has always performed well on the offensive end of the court — both as a passer and a scorer.
Now, not only does his IQ for the game become all the more apparent, but so does his scoring prowess. Others may not have always rated him as a big-time scorer, but he now holds the all-time scoring record.
Not even his doubters can overlook that record so easily.
Is LeBron the GOAT?
Now with 38,388 points (and counting) to his name, the all-time scoring record adds more fuel to the flames of his case as the ‘Greatest of All Time.’
The GOAT debate has been going on for years. Who is the greatest player in NBA history?
Everyone has a different answer to the question, including LeBron himself.
“What I bring to the table as a basketball player … I feel like I’m the best basketball player that ever played the game,” LeBron told the Orange County Register. “That’s just my confidence, that’s just what I bring to the table, what I possess.”
However, as the game continues to evolve, there is no real metric to define who the greatest player of all time is. No amount of championships, points, and records, could ever settle the debate completely.
But holding the all-time scoring record is definitely a huge source of ammunition for LeBron’s backers, that others will have trouble dismissing.
Even Dirk Nowitzki, who always argues that Michael Jordan is the GOAT, said, “If he really surpasses Kareem in the scoring record, I’m sort of running out of arguments for Michael. I mean what this guy has done is nothing short of incredible.”
Could he break 40,000 points?
LeBron James spent 20 seasons in the NBA and played 1,410 (if done by Thunder) games to reach his record of 38,388 points.
On average, that amounts to around 1,919 points per season. With only about 1,600 points to go, he would only need to play one more season to strengthen his record even further.
This is hardly out of the realm of possibility for the NBA star, whose strength and physicality seems endless.
With the way he is still currently playing, it’s hard to believe he is already 38 years old, as he is averaging 30 points per game. And each year, even as he gets older, he has always been one of the top 10 players in the league based on various statistical metrics.
Could LeBron James continue to play until he cracks the 40,000 record?
It would be an incredible feat. But as it stands now, just by becoming the NBA’s all-time scorer — the first one to break the record in 39 years — he is an immortalized figure in the sport.
Banner image from Los Angeles Lakers on Instagram.