James breaks all-time scoring record, cements legacy as the “King”


On Feb. 7, LeBron James surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA scoring record, which lasted from 1984-2023. This has been the most anticipated moment of the 2023 NBA season. In the game, James was 36 points away from breaking the record. The Lakers listed ticket prices at an astronomical price and nearly sold out the arena.
He finally hit the historic shot in the third quarter, coming down the court against the Oklahoma City Thunder. James received the ball at the high post, took three dribbles, and attempted his signature turnaround jumper; the crowd went crazy as the ball sailed through the bottom of the net.
This record has stood for almost four decades and during that time players like Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan couldn’t even approach this record. Bryant had the longevity of 20 seasons but his body was falling apart, causing him to miss significant time during the final few years of his career. Jordan would have broken the record if he did not go to college or retired at his peak the first time he played baseball. If he did not retire or go to college, he would have played 19 years in the league instead of just 15. Now LeBron is an all-time leader in points, while also being top five in assists and field goals made.
This award’s impact on James’ legacy is astronomical because he will only add to these statistics. For over a decade, James has been compared to Jordan as the greatest player of all time. The biggest argument against James has been his poor NBA Finals record of 4-6 compared to MJ’s 6-0 record.
Another point to help Jordan’s case is when he played, his finals series never went to 7 games, and his team was the only team to three-peat twice. The first time was in the early to mid-1960s with the Celtics. However, Jordan never made it out of the first round of the playoffs until the Bulls put the pieces around him, with players like Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant.
In the second three-peat, the only difference was replacing Horace Grant with Steve Kerr, Dennis Rodman and Ron Harper. The Bulls also paired Jordan up with the perfect coach in Phil Jackson, who implemented the triangle offense. Jordan prospered as an individual and as a teammate in this system.
There is no doubt that Jordan was a winner, but he had flaws similar to James. Both struggle to score from the three-point line. James shoots 34.4%, while Jordan shoots 32.1%; they are so close in comparison.
It is impossible to pick a unanimous greatest player; basketball evolves every season with new rules, talents, faces and cultures. The only consistent factor in basketball is that everything is short-lived. Every year, new talent comes in and an entire wave of talent leaves. It is a lifecycle, and it is only a matter of time before James retires. All fans of the sport can do now is tip their hats to James for all he has done for entertainment on and off the court throughout his career.