LeBron James NBA scoring record
LeBron James NBA scoring record

LeBron James NBA scoring record

Past and present basketball greats have paid tribute to LeBron James after he broke the NBA scoring record previously held by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

The Los Angeles Lakers forward nailed a 21-foot step-back jump shot with 10.9 seconds left in the third quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder to take his career total to 38,388 points.

Abdul-Jabar, who became the league’s leading scorer in April 1984 before retiring five years later with 38,387 points, rose from his seat at the game to applaud his successor and fellow Laker.

James said: “Everybody that’s been a part of this run with me these last 20+ years, I just wanna say thank you so much because I wouldn’t be me without y’all.”

The 38-year-old finished the game with 38 points, and 38,390 total, but it wasn’t enough to lift his side, who gave their visitors a scare at the death before falling 133-130.

James joined the Lakers from the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2018 and the man who engineered the move, Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson, expressed his gratitude.

“I want to personally thank you, LeBron, for trusting and believing in me and the Lakers in 2018 when I was president of basketball operations,” Johnson tweeted.

“Everything you said you would do, you’ve done: Led the Lakers to a championship, elevated the Lakers brand, and gave back to the city of LA!”

James secured his fourth championship with the Lakers’ NBA Finals victory over his former side Miami Heat in 2020 and must feature in any debate on who is the greatest player of all time.

He commented: “I’ll let everybody else decide who that is or just talk about it, but it’s great barbershop talk.

“Me personally, I’m going to take myself against anybody who’s ever played this game. I know what I bring to the table every single night and what I can do out on this floor.

“I always feel like I’m the best to ever play this game, but there are so many great ones and I’m happy to be just a part of their journey.”

Nowitzki salutes James

German legend Dirk Nowitzki, number six in the all-time NBA scoring record list with 31,560, puts James right up there with Michael Jordan in the GOAT discussion.

The 44-year-old 7ft wonder, who recently had a statue unveiled in his honour by the Dallas Mavericks, said: “It’s super-tough for me to say; I grew up with MJ, watching him win six championships in the 90s.

“He’ll always be my GOAT but LeBron is now almost right there. The length of how he’s been able to do this at the level that he’s playing, it’s just unbelievable.

“And it looks like he’s not slowing down anytime soon, he could still do this for a couple more years.

“I’m running out of arguments, even though MJ was my hero from my teenage years and that’s tough now to go back on.

“But LeBron deserves to be right there in that conversation!”

Nowitzki added on the NBA Courtside Huddle: “It’s unbelievable, the ride he’s been on.

“To be called ‘King’ at aged 15 and then live up to all that hype and have an incredible career, the longevity has been amazing.

“I’m super-happy for him, he’s done everything the right way. He’s also done incredible stuff off the floor, with building a school and helping all these communities.”

King James stats

James overhauled Abdul-Jabbar’s points total having played 150 fewer games (1,410 compared with 1,560), scoring an average of 27.2 points per game compared with his predecessor’s 24.6.

Only four players in NBA history have scored their points at a faster rate – Jordan (30.1), Wilt Chamberlain (30.1), Elgin Baylor (27.4) and Kevin Durant (27.3).

Selected first in the 2003 draft, James made his NBA debut as an 18-year-old for his home-state franchise the Cleveland Cavaliers, and went on to become the youngest player to reach 10,000, 20,000 and 30,000 points.

Most of his points were scored in two stints with the Cavaliers (23,119), with the remainder split across spells with the Miami Heat (7,919) and the Lakers (7,352).

He recently became the first player to score 40 points in a single game against all 30 franchises, completing the clean sweep with a 46-point haul – including a personal best nine three-point field goals – against the Los Angeles Clippers on January 24.

He is also one of just two players – alongside team-mate Russell Westbrook – to have recorded a triple-double against every team.

His highest points-per-game average is against the Boston Celtics (29.1), while his lowest is against the Detroit Pistons (24.1).

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