The King stands alone, becoming NBA’s all-time points leader


Photo courtesy of @lakers on Instagram.

The LA Lakers commended LeBron for his record.

A record once thought to stand the test of time was broken on Tuesday night when LeBron James became the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. James surpassed former Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the top spot when he scored his 38,388th career point in the third quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

When Abdul-Jabbar broke Wilt Chamberlain’s point total on Apr. 5, 1984, people questioned if that record would ever be broken. Nearly 39 years later, those questions have been answered, as James now stands alone.

James entered the season with 37,062 points, 1,326 points behind Abdul-Jabbar’s mark. He had reached that total in all but one season of his career when he played just 45 games in the 2020-21 season. James has battled injuries in recent seasons, but there was no question that as long as he could play, he would eventually break the record.

In 44 games played this season, James is averaging 30.2 points per game, the third highest average in his 20-year career. His longevity and dominance over the league are unprecedented, scoring 10 or more points in 1,402 of his 1,410 games. Within that total stands his most unbreakable record: his streak of 1,168 consecutive games registering at least 10 points.

Becoming the all-time scoring leader adds to James’ illustrious resume, which already includes four Most Valuable Player awards, 19 All-Star Game appearances, 13 first-team All-NBA selections and four NBA championships.

James moved into second in all-time points in March 2022 when he passed Utah Jazz legend, Karl Malone. He admitted he was not focused on overtaking Abdul-Jabbar’s record. “I will not allow myself to think about it,” James said. “[I] hope to accomplish that at some point in my career, but I won’t think about it too much.”

When the record had been broken, the game was stopped to celebrate the making of history, bringing reporters onto the court, and a ceremony with commissioner Adam Silver and Abdul-Jabbar to “pass the torch” of the scoring title on to its new record holder. “You’ve got to give him credit for just the way that he planned to last and to dominate,” Abdul-Jabbar said.

The ceremony gave the Thunder time to readjust their game plan, who were still leading when James broke the record with 11 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Oklahoma City had one of their best offensive games of the season, finishing with a staggering 52.1% from the field as a team and a 50.0% rate from beyond the arc.

Los Angeles kept up with the Thunder’s quick offensive pace late in the fourth quarter as guard Russell Westbrook had one of his better games of the season, finishing with 27 points against his former team. Despite Westbrook’s efforts, the Lakers could not overcome the deficit, dropping the game 133-130 and spoiling James’ 38 points and record-setting night.