LeBron James has become the NBA’s all-time leading points scorer after the Lakers star hit 38 points in a 133-130 defeat to Oklahoma City Thunder. His 38 points saw him pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record which had been held for 39 years.
Abdul-Jabbar broke the scoring record in April 1984, eight months before James was born, and was present to watch the 38-year-old take the necessary 36 points. James hit the record-breaking points with a fadeaway jumper at the end of the third quarter, finishing the match with a career total of 38,390, and a brief break in play was held to mark the achievement.
The 75-year-old Abdul-Jabbar, who stood and applauded when James celebrated the points, ceremoniously handed over the ball to the Lakers star in front of a crowd which included tennis icon John McEnroe, music stars Jay-Z, LL Cool J; boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr and actor Denzel Washington.
What has been said?
Speaking after he hit the record-breaking points, James said: “To be able to be in the presence of a legend and great as Kareem, it means so much to me. Everyboyd that has ever been a part of this run with me the last 20-plus years, I want to say thank you so much because I wouldn’t be me without all you.
“You all helped. Your passion and sacrifices helped me to get to this point. And to the NBA, to Adam Silver, to the late great David Stern, thank you very much for allowing me to be a part of something I always dreamed about. I would never in a million years dreamt this to be even better than what it is tonight.”
Abdul-Jabbar, who retired in 1989, said of his successor: “I thought it had every chance of being broken. It just had to have someone that the offense focused on continually. LeBron’s career is one of someone who planned to dominate this game. You have to give him credit for just the way he played and for the way he’s lasted and dominated.”
LeBron James’s record-breaking career
James was drafted first overall by his hometown team the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003. The forward then joined the Miami Heat in 2010, where he won two titles, before returning to the Cavaliers and leading them to their only NBA title in 2016.
Since 2018, James has been with the Lakers and helped them to win the 2020 title, which was also the fourth time he has been named NBA finals MVP. The two-time Olympic Champion also has four regular season MVP titles and has appeared in the NBA finals 10 times.
The 38-year-old holds the record as the youngest player to reach every significant points tally fom 5,000 to 35,000, passing six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan to reach fourth overall in March 2019 before passing the late Lakers’ legend Kobe Bryant to move into third all-time in January 2020.
23,119 points were scored in 849 games for the Cavaliers during 11 seasons across his two spells; 7,919 points were scored for the Heat in 294 games and now James has 7,314 points for the Lakers in 266 games across five seasons.
The 19-time All-Star is also in the top-10 all-time lists for assists, steals, defensive rebounds, field goals made and three-pointers made.
What is LeBron James’ height and net worth?
James stands at 6ft 9in tall (2.06m) and this makes him one of the tallest and most physically imposing players in the NBA. The tallest NBA star still playing is Boban Marjonivic who stands at 7ft 3in tall but the tallest NBA player in history is recorded to be the Romanian and US star Gheorghe Muresan who played for the Washington Bullets and New Jersey Jets. He was 7ft 7in tall and played in the NBA between 1993 and 2000.
Not only is James now the all-time points record holder, but he is also listed as the wealthiest basketball star in the league. He is estimated to have a 2023 net worth of $1bn (£826m) according to Forbes. Along with his career earnings, he is earned extra through contracts such as with Nike, his investment with Blaze Pizza and SpringHill Entertainment.
James also owns a 2% stake in Liverpool FC which is estimated to be worth at least $40bn.
Who are the highest all-time points scorers?
Here are the top 10 highest points scorers in the NBA. Go to our article in NBA highest scorers to find out more.
- LeBron James - 38,390
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - 38,387
- Karl Malone - 36,928
- Kobe Bryant - 33,643
- Michael Jordan - 32,292
- Dirk Nowitzki - 31,560
- Wilt Chamberlain - 31,419
- Shaquille O’Neal - 28,596
- Carmelo Anthony - 28,289
- Moses Malone - 27,409