On April 5, 1984 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored his 31420th point, surpassing Wilt Chamberlain as the all-time scoring leader in NBA history. Chamberlain was also passed eventually by the likes of Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, Dirk Nowitzki, and Kobe Bryant. Only Karl Malone sniffed Jabbar’s record of 38387 points, falling over 1400 points of the mark. Then there was LeBron James.
James, in his 20th NBA season, entered the February 7th games against the Oklahoma City Thunder needing 36 points to break the scoring record, which lasted 38 years. It didn’t even take a full game for the mark to fall, as James hit a 21-foot turnaround jumper at the end of the third quarter to set the mark.
Magic Johnson, Lakers’ great and teammate of Abdul-Jabbar, felt that Jabbar’s scoring mark would never be broken. In fact, James didn’t even think much about it until recently, as the mark just seemed to be unreachable.
LeBron hit the mark by being so incredibly consistent for such a long duration of time. Since his rookie season, James has averaged at least 25 points per game since and considering he’s played two decades, the points total accumulated rapidly to the point of breaking the record.
Set initially by Joe Fulks and George Mikan, James now holds the record which was also once held by Dolph Schayes, Bob Petit, Chamberlain, and Jabbar.
Kareem noted, “LeBron’s career is one of someone who planned to dominate this game. He had the size and the talent to step right into the NBA, and he immediately had his effect. It’s gone on for 20 years now. He has that indefinable essence that you call leadership, that people want to get behind him.”
The question now is whether or not James is the greatest NBA player of all-time. He’s not only at the top of the list in scoring, but near the top in assists, and is the only player in league history to be in the top 100 in points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, and three-pointers. The argument against is that he’s won only two titles compared to other greats such as Michael Jordan and Bill Russell who have won significantly more.
The GOAT argument is for another game, but for now, James is the NBA all-time scoring leader.
As we celebrate LeBron James’ career, it’s unfortunate to report that LeBron James has injured his foot, which we’ll discuss in our next article.