Scoring king: LeBron James breaks Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time NBA scoring record
If quickly became when for LeBron James on Tuesday night.
“The kid from Akron” wasn’t waiting another night to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. He made that quite clear to everyone – from Denzel and D-Wade to every other celebrity sitting courtside and to a national TV audience. This would be his night.
And with 10.9 seconds left in the third quarter, James passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the NBA’s career scoring leader with 38,388 points.
He entered the game needing 36 points to break the record and a big first half set up the moment: James making a fadeaway jumper to become the eighth player to hold the scoring record. He finished with 38 points, giving him 38,390, in a 133-130 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Abdul-Jabbar, who finished his legendary career with 38,387 points, held it the longest. He broke Wilt Chamberlain’s record of 31,419 on April 5, 1984 in a Lakers game at Utah. Later in 1984, on Jan. 30, James was born in Akron.
By the early 2000s, James was perhaps the most hyped high school basketball player ever. He appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a St. Vincent-St. Mary High School junior. Not even Abdul-Jabbar, as hyped a player as anyone coming out of New York City’s Power Memorial in the 1960s when he was known as Lew Alcindor, managed that.
James made his NBA debut in 2003, scoring 25 points in his first game. His pursuit of the career scoring record was underway.
He became the league’s youngest player to reach 1,000 points, 2,000 points and every round milestone in points through 37,000.
That set the stage for Tuesday night.
James relentlessly attacked the basket against the Thunder, often bulling his way to the rim to score or draw fouls.
By the 6:38 mark of the second quarter, he was more than halfway to the needed 36 points to break the mark. He stood at 20 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field, while going 6-of-8 at the foul line.
It was just the second time this season where James scored 20 or more in the first half. Needing 16 points once the second half began, James made breaking the record seem inevitable when he buried back-to-back 3-pointers early in the third quarter.
Soon, the record was his.
This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: LeBron James becomes NBA's all-time leading scorer