LeBron James becomes NBA’s all-time leading points scorer as he surpasses Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
LeBron James has become the NBA’s all-time leading points scorer, surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 34-year record amid a stunning performance against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Los Angeles.
Fans shelled out thousands to secure a seat at the Lakers’ arena to witness history, and James didn’t make them wait – putting on a show to seal the record, while Abdul-Jabbar watched on from courtside.
James went into the game against OKC needing 36 points to overtake the record of 38,387 – which was set by Abdul-Jabbar in 1989.
James claimed the record with 10.9 seconds remaining in the third quarter with a trademark fadeaway dagger.
The King went into Tuesday’s game averaging 30 points, meaning it will have come as a surprise to many that he reached it so quickly – and a huge disappointment to those who shelled out up to $100,000 a ticket to secure a seat for Thursday’s game.
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has become the NBA’s all-time leading points scorer
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was in attendance in Los Angeles to watch his record being broken
LeBron’s incredible 20-year career has led to him overtaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record
Speaking ahead of the game in an interview with ESPN, LeBron said of his charge towards the record: ‘It’s still mind-boggling to myself.
‘I’ve never said I wanted to lead the league in scoring or, for sure, never said I wanted to be the all-time leader in scoring. That’s never been a dream of mine, and to sit here and actually be on the brink of it happening, it’s pretty crazy.’
James and Abdul-Jabbar have had a famously rocky relationship over the years, with their feud bubbling over during the Covid-19 pandemic, and amid James supporting players who had opted out of receiving the vaccine.
After James’ comments, Abdul-Jabbar said he was ‘plain wrong… and his being wrong could be deadly, especially to the Black community.’
Kareem also hit out at LeBron’s social stances in an interview with ESPN last year, in which he said: ‘Some of the things he’s done and said are really beneath him, as far as I can see.
‘Some of the great things that he’s done, he’s standing on both sides of the fence almost, you know? It makes it hard for me to accept that when he’s committed himself to a different take on everything. It’s hard to figure out where he’s standing. You’ve got to check him out every time.’
That led to a social media apology from the now-75-year-old, who said he regretted his ‘off-handed response’ to the reporter.
James’ record-breaking career began 20 years ago in 2003, when he was drafted first overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
James (L) poses with his famous family last week, with Bronny and Bryce potential future stars
LeBron started his career at Cleveland (left) before winning in Miami and then returning
He was named the 2004 Rookie of the Year, and then went on to win MVP awards in 2009 and 2010 during a seven-season stint with the Cavs.
In 2010, he left as a free agent with the team having failed to compete for a championship, and he announced his move to the Miami Heat in a TV special titled ‘The Decision’ – one of the most controversial free agent moves in NBA history.
It was in Miami that he won his first NBA championship, in 2012 and then again in 2013. In both of those seasons, he also picked up the MVP and Finals MVP awards.
Now at the Lakers, James has won a fourth NBA championship and now broken the solo record
James poses with his wife Savannah last year at a premiere for the Netflix movie ‘Hustle’
In 2014, he re-signed with the Cavaliers and in 2016 led the team to an historic NBA Finals win over the Golden State Warriors, coming back from a 3-1 deficit to end the ‘Cleveland Curse’ which had seen the city’s sports teams fail to win a title in 52 years.
LeBron left the Cavs for a second time in 2018, exercising his contract option to join the Los Angeles Lakers, where he remains to this day.
In 2020, he won his fourth NBA championship in a Covid-decimated season, and has also become the first player in NBA history to accumulate $1billion in earnings as an active player.
Source of data and images: dailymail