LeBron James finally eclipsed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the most prolific scorer in NBA history on Tuesday, breaking a 39-year record that many throughout basketball believed would never be beaten. The Los Angeles Lakers star, playing in his 20th season in the NBA, passed Abdul-Jabbar’s longstanding total of 38,387 points after nailing a 21-foot shot late in the third quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
James flung his arms aloft in relief as the Crypto.com Arena erupted in wild celebration at his new record of 38,388 points. Abdul-Jabbar, sitting courtside, was among the first to congratulate James as play was interrupted to salute an iconic moment in NBA history. “To be able to be in the presence of a legend and great as Kareem it means so much to me,” James told the crowd before thanking family, friends and fans.
“Everybody that’s ever been part of this run with me these last 20 years, I just want to say I thank you so much because I wouldn’t be me without all your help, all your passion and all your sacrifices to help me get to this point.” James also paid tribute to NBA commissioner Adam Silver and his predecessor, the late David Stern.
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Grateful to fans
“Thank you guys so much for allowing me to be a part of something I’ve always dreamed about, and I would never ever in a million years have dreamt this even better than what it is tonight,” James added before signing off with an F-bomb. After a dazzling season that has seen him average 30 points per game in a struggling Lakers outfit, James went into Tuesday’s clash with Oklahoma City needing just 36 points to surpass Abdul-Jabbar.
The 38-year-old took his time before surging towards his magic number, missing his first two attempts before finally nailing a three-pointer midway through the first quarter to get off the mark. The four-time NBA champion would go on to score eight points in the opening quarter, leaving him 28 short as the second quarter got under way.
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