The seemingly impossible has been achieved, as Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James has unseated NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the league’s all-time leading scorer.
James, 38, etched his name into the record books with a fall away 15-foot jump-shot over Kenrich Williams in the third quarter of tonight’s matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He was met with a shower of applause from the Los Angeles crowd. Commissioner Adam Silver met James at center court alongside former record holder Abdul-Jabbar.
James shared a brief congratulatory message to his family, friends, teammates and loved ones who have helped him on his road to success:
It’s been a long journey for the Akron, Ohio, native. A fall-away 17-foot jump-shot from the right baseline introduced James — who was a Cleveland Cavalier at the time — to the NBA world on Oct. 29, 2003 against the Sacramento Kings. From then until now, James has been a pillar in the NBA as the preeminent face of the league.
What’s merited such worldwide acclaim has been 19 consecutive seasons averaging 25 points or better. His career 27.2 PPG average ranks No. 5 in the history of the NBA, trailing only Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor and Kevin Durant respectively.
From the casual fan to savants of the sport, all have marveled at the spectacularity in which LeBron plays, while remaining efficient.
There have only been 13 players in the history of the NBA that have averaged 25 points per game or better for their careers (including Rip City’s very own Damian Lillard). Within that esteemed club, James has the fourth-highest efficiency rate from the floor at 50.5 percent shooting. He trails only Chamberlain (54 percent), Karl Malone (51.6 percent), and George Gervin (51.1 percent).
James has coupled efficient, volume scoring with — until recently — outstanding durability. He has played in 1,409 regular season games, good for No. 10 all time. He’s now scored more points than his antecedent in 151 less games.
Speaking of Abdul-Jabbar, the six-time MVP set the all-time scoring record on April 5, 1984 against the Utah Jazz with a skyhook over defensive stalwart Mark Eaton. He set the mark with 31,421 points at that time, unseating his forerunner Wilt Chamberlain who until then owned the record with 31,419 points.
Prior to Chamberlain, Bob Pettit (20,880 points), Dolph Schayes (18,438 points), George Mikan (10,156 points) and Joe Fulks (8,003 points) all held the coveted record.
James has expressed interest in sharing the floor with his son LeBron “Bronny” James Jr., who is currently a senior in high school.