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LeBron James Becomes US Pro-Basketball’s All-Time Scoring Leader


Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) reacts after breaking the all-time scoring record in the third quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Arena, Los Angeles, Feb. 8, 2023. Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

U.S. basketball star LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers became the National Basketball Association's all-time leading scorer Tuesday.

James hit a two-point basket late in the third quarter in the game against the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder to surpass the 38,387 career points held by Lakers’ legend and Hall-of-Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Abdul-Jabbar, who was in Arena to watch the historic moment, had held the record since April 5,1984, which surpassed the previous record of 31,419 points set by another Lakers legend, the late Wilt Chamberlain.

James entered Tuesday’s game needing just 36 points to break the record. He finished the game with 38 points, giving him 38,390 points for his career to date. But the Thunder won the game 133-130.

The record adds to James’s already illustrious 20-year NBA career, which began as an 18-year-old rookie with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He has since won four NBA championships, four season Most Valuable Player awards and four NBA Finals MVP awards.

Following James and Abdul-Jabbar on the NBA’s all-time scoring list are Karl Malone, the late Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan, universally considered to be the greatest NBA player of all time. Chamberlain is now in seventh-place.

When asked in a post-game interview with retired great Shaquille O’Neal – who won three NBA titles with the Lakers and is behind Chamberlain with 28,596 points – if he was now the greatest player in NBA history, James said he always feels like “I’m the best to ever play this game” but said he was happy to be mentioned with the league's other great players.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.