February 7th, 2023 will go down in the annals of history, as LeBron James broke Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's long-standing all-time NBA scoring record.
King James has been closing in on the all-time scoring record in the last few weeks and the Los Angeles Lakers superstar crossed the line with 38 points on Tuesday.
The 38-year-old surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's tally and his career points total has gone to 38,390 after his performance against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
NBA legend Abdul-Jabbar was at the Crypto.com Arena to hand over a basketball to LeBron in a ceremonial passing on of the record.
|What||2022/23 NBA Season|
|Where||USA and Canada|
|When||18th October 2022 to 9th April 2023|
|Odds||Boston Celtics +300, Milwaukee Bucks +500, Denver Nuggets +650|
The 2022/23 campaign is LeBron James' 20th season in the NBA, having been drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers back in 2003.
The Small forward has been to the NBA Finals on ten occasions, has been named Finals MVP four times and collected the regular-season MVP award on six occasions.
LeBron has averaged 27.2 points per game and has reached his tally in a shorter time than the great Kareem – who finished his NBA career at the end of his 20th season.
Abdul-Jabbar, who only played for two franchises during his career, scored 38,387 points in 1,560 games compared to James' 38,390 in 1,410 games.
The vast majority of LeBron's points tally (23,119) came during his two spells with the Cavaliers, while 7,919 points were scored for Miami Heat – +1700 to win the Eastern Conference, and 7,314 have so far been scored in five seasons with the Lakers.
Along with his points-scoring stats, the Lakers star is a four-time NBA champion and there could be lots more points and perhaps more titles before he retires from the court.
LeBron has hinted in the past that he believes he can play in the NBA until he's 45, depending on how his mind feels rather than his body.
When asked how long he could play at the top level in 2022, James stated: "I don't have a number. I know as long as my mind stays in it, I can play at this level for a minute. Now, that's up to my mind. My body is going to be OK because if my mind is into it, I will make sure my body is taken care of, and I'll continue to put in the work."
Injuries have impacted him more in the last couple of years – playing his lowest number of games in the 2020/21 campaign (45) and following that up last term with 56 appearances.
NBA fans and media have regularly discussed who is the greatest basketball player of all time, a question that can never have a definitive answer!
James' name has come to the fore in the last ten years, being mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Abdul-Jabaar, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Wilt Chamberlain.
Some will associate points-scoring with greatness and others will consider titles and awards as the primary focus when choosing 'the best'. There will never be a time when everyone agrees on one player, especially due to things like team loyalty and position bias.
LeBron – +5000 to be Regular Season MVP - deserves to be spoken about in the same breath as the legends mentioned above and the leading NBA points scorer himself said he would "take myself against anybody who's ever played this game".
No sooner is the points-scoring record broken than people start talking about who could be the next contender to beat the current tally.
None of the other players in the top-10 points scorers list are currently still playing, so there isn't one natural successor to 'King James' record.
Kevin Durrant is currently 14th in the standings, with the Brooklyn Nets star currently on 26,684 career points – some 11,706 points behind LeBron's tally.
KD is now 34 and injuries have also impacted his game time in recent seasons and it would take a huge effort for him to score almost 3,000 points in each of the next four years.
James Harden and Russell Westbrook – +125 to be 6th Man of the Year - are both in the top-30 in the points stats, but both are also in their mid-30s and it seems unlikely they will be able to reach the target – especially as James is likely to increase his record over the next few seasons.
Abdul-Jabaar's record lasted 39 years and as things stand, it's likely to take a similar amount of time until someone is able to surpass James' tally.