NBA | Feb 08, 2023

Lebron James sets NBA all-time scoring record

By Harry Bazley

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Lebron James has officially surpassed Karim Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's career regular-season points total of 38,387 to become the NBA's all-time leading scorer.

On Tuesday night, The King of the court faced the Oklahoma City Thunder to break what had long been viewed as the unbreakable record and officially crown himself as The Scoring King.

James entered the matchup needing 36 points to accomplish the feat and after a solid performance in the first half, he made a stepback with 10.9 seconds left in the third quarter to break the record and pass Kareem Abdul Jabbar on the all-time scorers list. At which point the arena erupted and play was paused to recognise the achievement.

Abdul-Jabbar and the NBA commissioner Adam Silver, walked out to center court to join James and celebrate the moment by handing James the game ball.

To be in the presence of such a legend and great as Kareem, it means so much to me. It’s very humbling. To everybody who’s ever been a part of this run with me the last 20 years, I just want to say thank you so much. To the NBA … I thank you guys so much for letting me be part of something I’ve always dreamed about. I would never, ever in a million years dreamed it’s better than what it is tonight.

Lebron James

Abdul-Jabbar held the prestigious title for more than 38 years after surpassing Wilt Chamberlain's record of 31,419 points back in April 1984, roughly eight months before Lebron James was born. Abdul-Jabbar retired five seasons later and his record was assumed to be untouchable. Until Lebron James came along...

James broke the record in just 1,410 games, which is 150 fewer than Abdul-Jabbar. So far, he has averaged 27.2 points per game during his 20-season career, in which he played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers. Meanwhile Abdul-Jabbar averaged 24.6 points over his 20-season career with the Milwaukee Bucks and Lakers. Although, the invention of the 3-point line certainly helped boost James' career points, as Abdul-Jabbar had already played 10-seasons before it's inception.

The all-time scorers list now looks like this, and it will stay this way for decades to come.

  1. LeBron James: 38,390

  2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 38,387

  3. Karl Malone: 36,928

  4. Kobe Bryant: 33,643

  5. Michael Jordan: 32,292

  6. Dirk Nowitzki: 31,560

  7. Wilt Chamberlain: 31,419

  8. Shaquille O'Neal: 28,596

  9. Carmelo Anthony: 28,289

  10. Moses Malone: 27,409

James already had a glowing resume before Tuesday night, with four MVPs, four Finals MVPs, four championships, two Olympic gold medals, a record 18 All-NBA selections and a record-tying 19 All-Star selections.

Last season, James also became the only player to accumulate over 30,000 career points, 10,000 rebounds and 10,000 assists. Plus, he's the all-time leading postseason scorer with 7,631 points, ahead of Michael Jordan, who trails almost 2,000 points behind.

Lebron James has always been in the GOAT conversation, but for many, passing Abdul-Jabbar to become the NBA's all time leading scorer, cements his name in the history books as the greatest player to ever handle a basketball.

Long live the King!