LeBron James Breaks NBA’s All-Time Scoring Record, Surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

LeBron James became the association’s all-time leading scorer in the Los Angeles Lakers’ game against the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday, surpassing the record that six-time NBA MVP Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had held for 39 years.

With 10.9 seconds left in the third quarter, James sank a stepback jumper from the left elbow – scoring his 36th point of the game and 38,388th of his career. He stretched his arms in celebration as the supercharged crowd at Los Angeles’ Crypto.com Arena went into a frenzy.

Officials paused the game to honor him on the court, where his mother, wife and children met and embraced him. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver congratulated him, and Abdul-Jabbar – in attendance and clapping as James neared the record – raised a basketball aloft before handing it to James as if relinquishing the scoring crown itself.

“I just want to say thank you to the Laker faithful. You guys are one of a kind,” James said into a microphone.

He asked the crowd to give Abdul-Jabbar a standing ovation.

“Everybody that’s ever been a part of this run with me the last … 20-plus years, I just want to say I thank you so much, because I wouldn’t be me without y’all.”

James scored two more points in the fourth quarter in a 133-130 loss – a disappointment for a team now two games behind the Western Conference’s final slot for the NBA’s play-in tournament. But the night – like so many moments in his career – belonged to him.

The 38-year-old needed fewer games than the legendary goggles-wearing center to hit the top of the scoring list – 1,410 to Abdul-Jabbar’s 1,560. James’ record-breaking feat is even more impressive given he’s widely considered a pass-first player in the league, recently claiming the fourth spot in the NBA’s all-time assist list.

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