LeBron James breaks Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA scoring record

LA Lakers forward broke the record of 38,387 points, a feat once seemed impossible for anyone

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James is the leading scorer in NBA history after breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s career record of 38,387 points, a feat that once had seemed impossible for anyone – but James has become known for making the improbable part of his routine.

He broke the record on a fadeaway 2-point shot with seconds remaining in the third quarter of Tuesday night’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. James extended his arms out like he was flying as he jogged back toward the other basket, then raised his arms up as he looked up into the stands at the thousands of people who had come to see him make history.

He paused for a second, bent over and rested his hands on his knees and smiled as his family and friends jumped out of their seats in celebration and joined him on the court. He had tears in his eyes.

The record had seemed to be set in stone, untouched for decades even by greats like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. But the 38-year-old James, in his 20th season since the Cleveland Cavaliers drafted him No. 1 overall in 2003, is still pouring in points as one of the best players in the NBA.


James came into Tuesday night’s game ready to make history. He dressed more formally than he normally does for games, wearing a shining black suit on his way into the arena.

The fans were ready, too. When he scored, they roared. Abdul-Jabbar, sitting courtside, smiled and clapped as he watched his record fall. When the moment came, Abdul-Jabbar came on to the court with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and hugged James, wishing him congratulations.

Abdul-Jabbar set the record with the Lakers on April 5th, 1984, dethroning Wilt Chamberlain, who had retired a decade earlier with 31,419 points. Abdul-Jabbar added nearly 7,000 points over the next five years before retiring after the 1988-89 season.

James’ first NBA points came on October 29th, 2003, when he was 18 years old. He was the youngest player to reach 5,000, 10,000, 20,000 and 30,000 points.

– This article originally appeared in The New York Times.