On Tuesday, LeBron James finally passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to take the title of NBA’s all-time leading scorer.
Late in the third quarter, LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers, who is in his 20th season in the NBA, overtook Abdul-Hamid Jabbar’s 39-year-old mark of 38,387 points by making a 21-foot shot against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
James flung his arms up in relief as the Crypto.com Arena erupted in raucous celebration at his new record of 38,388 points.
While Abdul-Jabbar was sat courtside, the play was halted to recognize a memorable moment in NBA history, and he was among the first to cheer James.
After a spectacular season in which he averaged 30 points per game in a struggling Lakers squad, James entered Tuesday’s game against Oklahoma City needing just 36 points to surpass Abdul-Jabbar.
The 38-year-old took his time before approaching his magic number, missing his first two attempts before nailing his first three-pointer to open the scoring halfway through the first quarter.
With eight points at the end of the first quarter, the four-time NBA champion was 28 points down going into the second.
James accelerated the pace in the second quarter with a run of 12 consecutive points before being substituted with 5:34 left in the half, 16 points short of the record before halftime.
He was only eight points shy of the record when he made a driving layup to get within six points with a total of 28 points on the night after two straight three-pointers midway through the third quarter.
He was two points away after two additional layups before he made his long-range try to secure the record.
“To be able to be in the presence of a legend and great as Kareem means so much to me,” James told the crowd after the record-breaking game.
“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.”
He added: “I think it’s one of the greatest records in sports in general.
“I think it’s up there with the home run record in baseball. It’s one of those records that you just don’t ever see or think would be broken.”