LeBron, even at the age of 38, showed no signs of slowing down as the King passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the all-time scoring record with 38,390 career total points against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles California. LeBron scored 38 points in the game to topple Kareem from the top of the list. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the previous owner of the record with 38,387 career total points which stood for almost 4 decades.
Passing Kareem was one of NBA’s most awaited events as even before the season had started, basketball fans from around the world were eyeing LeBron and his pursuit to break the all-time scoring record. It was only a matter of time until it happened in the latter part of the third quarter with a step-back fadeaway.
Kareem was known as one of the greatest, if not, the greatest centers of all time. He is very much notable in the NBA world as his signature move, the sky-hook, remains to be the most unguardable shot of all time. It helped him set the standard for other greats like LeBron James himself in scoring. Kareem played in the 70’s and retired in the 1988-89 season averaging 24.6 points per game, 11.2 rebounds per game, 3.6 assists per game, and 2.6 blocks per game for his career while playing 6 seasons for the Milwaukee Bucks and 14 seasons for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Kareem’s all-time resumé may seem intimidating but it did not bother LeBron James. Kareem may also be known for his sky-hook as his signature shot, but LeBron doesn’t have any signature shot. This actually puts LeBron in the advantage rather than the other way around. Other greats with signature shots like Michael Jordan’s fadeaway, Dirk Nowitzki’s one-legged fadeaway, and Hakeem Olajuwon’s dream shake may be appealing to our eyes but all of those signature shots are already in one player’s arsenal. James can virtually score from almost everywhere. He can score however he wants and does it effectively and efficiently. With no signature shot, it allows him to adjust his play style on offense depending on what the defense gives him. This creates havoc against opposing teams since this is what makes LeBron hard to guard, he’s simply unpredictable.
Although having no signature shot, a false narrative surrounding LeBron about him not being a “scorer” would sound absurd at this point. LeBron stands on top of that list filled with players who are the greatest to ever play the game such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, and Michael Jordan.
For his career so far, LeBron James averaged 27.2 points per game, 7.5 rebounds per game, 7.3 assists per game, 1.5 steals per game and 0.8 blocks per game while shooting 50.5% from the field, 34.4% from the arc, and 73.5% from the free-throw line. He clinches the all-time scoring record while playing 1409 games to Kareem’s 1560 total number of games, a 151 game-difference.
LeBron James is also a 4-time NBA Champion, 4-time Finals MVP, 19x All-Star, 3x All-Star MVP, 18x All-NBA, 6x All-Defensive, Rookie of the Year, and has 10 finals appearances. A feat that only a few players can claim, truly a league of his own.
Aside from his scoring prowess, LeBron James is also ranked 4th all-time in career assists totals with 10,354 assists. He surpassed great point-guards on the list such as Steve Nash, Oscar Robertson, and the greatest to ever play the point guard position himself, Earvin “Magic” Johnson. Not only LeBron already has his legacy set, but he’s also still not done. Even at 38 years old, he looks formidable as ever.
LeBron James may not be celebrated by many. He has plenty of critics and haters who stand by and watch him only to find the slightest of holes to degrade his career. Part of it may be due to insecurity, or maybe because they haven’t believed in him yet. Well, now they do.
As LeBron would go on to continue his legendary GOAT career, if you are a fan of the sport, you will celebrate every success he’s going to accomplish. His career will not last forever as we only have a few years to witness such generational talent, which we will never see again in our lifetime. With the rise of upcoming young superstar players such as Luka Dončić, Jason Tatum, Giannis Antetokoumnpo, Joel Embiid, and Nikola Jokić one could argue that the NBA will do just fine once he retires. But folks, there is only one LeBron James, and we may never see anything like him again so celebrate him while he’s still playing. Let’s all set aside our biases on who the real GOAT or the Greatest of All Time is, as the topic will always be subjective.
Who knows what great numbers LeBron might finish for his career when it’s all said and done, but there’s only one thing that’s for sure, we are all witnesses.