It was a night of wild expectations and LeBron James, once again, delivered.
With a mid-range fadeaway bucket, his 36th point of the night against the Oklahoma City Thunder, James surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, breaking a 39-year-old record to add another historic achievement to his already storied career.
After his shot had found the bottom of the net, the game came to a halt to allow James to savor his moment.
Amid the bedlam and a sea of cameras, James’ family – his wife, two sons and daughter – came out onto the court to celebrate the occasion with him. The great Abdul-Jabbar was also in attendance, later handing James the ball in an official passing of the torch.
It was the first time since since Abdul-Jabbar surpassed Wilt Chamberlain in 1984 that the scoring record has changed hands.
The debate surrounding who the greatest basketball player of all time is will undoubtedly rumble on indefinitely, but James has provided yet more ammunition for those fans who fight his corner.
Even for a man with four NBA titles and four MVP crowns to his name, James’ latest accomplishment will undoubtedly rank among his greatest.
What makes James’ latest feat all the more impressive is that many people, fans and pundits alike, do not believe scoring has ever been his best attribute.
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In the Lakers’ victory over the New York Knicks last week, James surpassed surpassed Mark Jackson and Steve Nash to move up to fourth place on the NBA’s all-time assist leaderboard and is now the only player in NBA history to rank inside the top five in both all-time points and assists.
“I mean, he’s as special as it gets,” two-time NBA All Star Joakim Noah, who faced James multiple times over a 13-year career, told Leakblast.com Sport. “A great player.
“We had a lot of competitive moments and it was always about trying to get past ‘that guy.’ So there were good moments, bad moments, but overall what he’s doing at his age, at 38 years old, and still being able to dominate the game and be that invested in the work and what it takes to be at the top, you’ve got to give a lot of respect to that.
“What’s unbelievable about that is his scoring is probably not his best thing, you know, he’s a better distributor, he’s a pass-first guy so to be able to lead the NBA in scoring and be a pass-first guy, it says a lot about his dominance.”