From the time LeBron James was expected to cover Sports Illustrated as a teenager, so much was expected of him. He was supposed to lead teams to championships, become an MVP and a global icon.
The handover of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s permanent scorer was a bridge too far – even among all the praise James won during his two-decade reign in the white light of the NBA. His four MVPs, Bill Russell, Michael Jordan (five each) and Abdul-Jabbar (six) for the league’s unique individual honor, and many players from different eras have more championships.
But he’s alone at the top of the list. With one step back, Bucket disappears near the end of the third quarter Tuesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder, James takes his place in history.
Abdul-Jabbar dropped-stepped and sky-hooked his way to 38.387 points, past Wilt Chamberlain in 1984 with a Sky Hake on the right wing against Utah Jazz, then set the record almost out of reach before retiring in 1989.
James doesn’t have a move like this, and he’s been wrongly called “not a scorer,” but he managed to claim the title in devastating consistency – Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant and Jordan in the top five of all time.
The pursuit of the points has become more than a focus, even if James has started, which is expected to be his night ticket. While he averaged only once (2008), two of his best four-point outs came in a locker uniform – about. 30 points per game this season and an average of 30.3 in 56 games in 2021-22.
Surprisingly, on average, he was more of a lacquerist than he was in his youth. In his first period in Cleveland he was almost reluctant to score, but his high volume made it so that he would do a lot. In Miami, he was the most complete, destructive version of himself—adding efficiency and becoming the best 3-point shooter. During his second Cleveland appearance, he discovered that he was mixed between two roles, depending on his teammates, and sometimes his mood or desire to take over.
His gifts have always been undeniable, and he respected them by right, as he is still a striking player at the age of 38.
James, a native of Akron, Ohio, scored his first NBA points on October 29, 2003, when he made a jump against Sacramento Kings as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, a team that set him up. Since then, he averaged 27 points per game during his 20 NBA seasons, according to the Basketball Reference, despite not calling himself a prototype bomber.
Last month, he became the only player except Abdul Jabbar to score more than 38,000 points. However, James still follows Abdul Jabbar, who, quite surprisingly, had only one three-point career.
In an interview, Memphis Grizzlies forward Danny Green, a former teammate of James, called James a unicorn that can beat you in many offensive ways.
“It’s like a freight train coming to you,” he said before James’ historic moment. “And you know how to use your body and coordinate. It’s almost impossible to keep, especially when he jumps 40 inches into the air.”
Last week, James jumped into his room on the list of full-time aid leaders. Mr. Green said his passing skills make it difficult for him to be in court.
“He’s gonna burn them in a lot of different ways besides scoring because he’s capable of doing that,” Green added. “I think it makes it easier for him to score and harder to save.”
The price of tickets to see James has gone up to over 69.A thousand dollars for Tuesday’s game against Thunder, and a couple of tickets outnumbered 106.A thousand dollars for Thursday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks, according to VividSeats.
Green told CBS News he didn’t believe anyone else broke James’s record, just like he didn’t think anyone broke Abdul-Jabbar’s record.
“You have to watch someone else play 20 years again at a high level, which I don’t think we’ll see,” he said. “With the contracts we have, the boys are retiring – they don’t need to play another 20 years.”
In October, James reflected on the possibility of breaking the record before the start of the season.
“Sitting here and knowing that I’m about to break probably the most sought-after record in the NBA, things that people said would probably never be done, I think it’s just super humiliating for me,” James said on Lakers Media Day.
Last year, Abdul-Jabbar told ESPN that if James were to break the record, he would be “very happy for him.”
“The game always gets better when records like that are broken, so LeBron must like his success,” he said. “He worked too hard to get this far. And for him, he’ll wait and see who can be lucky enough to break his record if that happens. It’s always about moving that to the next guy in line.”
James told ESPN in January he’d like to play until his oldest son, Bronny Jr., He’s gonna make it to the league, which means the scoring record can be a lot higher when he hangs up his shoes. Bronny Jr. would be eligible to be drafted in the period 2024-2025 under the current collective agreement, ESPN reported.
Since joining the league in 2003, James has become one of the biggest stars in the NBA, collecting four championship rings in the process. He played with the Lakers, the Miami Heat, and had two separate plays with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Whenever he retires, James will leave a Hall of Fame resume and be widely revered as one of the best players to enter an NBA court.