LOS ANGELES — King James is now the king of NBA scoring leaders.
LeBron James passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time career scoring leader on Tuesday night during the Lakers’ game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
With Abdul-Jabbar watching from the stands at sold-out Crypto.com Arena, James connected on a fallaway jumper near the free-throw line with 10.9 seconds left in the third quarter to set the all-time scoring mark. It was his 36th point of the game and put James, 38, at 38,388 points.
Abdul-Jabbar scored 38,387 points during his 20-year career with the Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks from 1969 to 1989, according to Basketball-Reference.com. He became the NBA’s overall points leader in 1984, ESPN reported. On April 5 of that year, Abdul-Jabbar scored 22 points for Los Angeles against the Utah Jazz in Las Vegas. That enabled him to pass Wilt Chamberlain’s career mark of 31,419 points.
Now, James is king. The game was stopped, and he was honored at center court by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Abdul-Jabbar.
The Lakers and the teams he previously played for also paid tribute. The team he began his career with, the Cleveland Cavaliers, tweeted congratulations. The Miami Heat, who James played for from 2010 to 2014, also tweeted best wishes.
James spoke to the crowd in a special ceremony after the record-breaking moment.
“I just want to say thank you to the Laker faithful. You guys are one of a kind,” James said after being honored at center court by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Abdul-Jabbar. “To be able to be in the presence of such a legend and great as Kareem, it means so much to me. It’s very humbling. Please give a standing ovation to the captain, please.
“To my beautiful wife, my daughter, my two boys, my friends, my boys, my family, my mother, all my, man, everybody that’s ever been part of this ride with me the past 20 years, the past 20-plus years, I just want to say I thank you so much because I wouldn’t be me without y’all,” James added. “All y’all’s help, all y’all’s passion, all y’all’s sacrifices helped me get to this point.”
James then received a hug from Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, a former Laker.
James is one of seven players to score 30,000 career points, ESPN reported. He is also the youngest player in NBA history to reach the 30,000-point plateau. James is averaging 30 points per game this season.
James’ record-breaking basket pulled the Lakers to within 104-99. He finished as the game’s leading scorer with 38 points, but it was not enough as Oklahoma City won, 133-130.
He entered the game with 38,352 points.
James scored 20 points in the first half against the Thunder, making six of 10 shots, including two from 3-point range, ESPN reported. He also converted six of eight free throws to finish the half 16 points shy of breaking Adbul-Jabbar’s record.
James added a pair of 3-pointers to open the third quarter to pull within six points of the record.
After taking a break, James re-entered the game with 2:14 left in the third quarter. He hit a 2-pointer with 1:59 to go and made a layup with 1:06 remaining in the period to pull within two points of breaking Abdul-Jabbar’s record.
James already has four NBA titles to his credit and is a 19-time all-star. Now he can add the career scoring crown to his many achievements.
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