The Long and Short: What James and Abdul-Jabbar Did Tuesday Night in Los Angeles, Calif., Los Angeles Clippers Reached
On Tuesday night in front of an enthusiastic home crowd, James scored 38,387 points, passing fellow Los Angeles Laker Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time leader.
Basketball has been as exciting as James dunking down the lane, barreling past defenders and finishing with a trademark tomahawk dunk over the years.
The NBA stopped the game for an on-court ceremony with Abdul-Jabbar and James embracing. Abdul-Jabbar held the basketball aloft and handed it to James, a ceremonial passing of the torch. James spoke about what he had just done to the crowd.
“Everybody that’s ever been a part of this run with me the last … 20-plus years, I just want to say I thank you so much, because I wouldn’t be me without y’all.”
The record fulfilled one more promise that James seemed to hold when he went from high school to the NBA in 2003 and was dubbed “The Chosen One” by Sports Illustrated a year later.
“Once every 100 years, you see a guy like that and so I just think he’s an incredible player. I think becoming the all-time leading scorer is just going to just solidify him on the Mount Rushmore in America. One of the people who is not a person are the other three guys.
James said that he would take himself against anyone who has been in the game. Everyone will have their favorite and everyone will decide who they think is their favorite. I know what I bring to the table every single night and what I can do out on this floor.”
I believe I can play a couple more years. I can play a few more years because of the way my body has been reacting to me.
The scoring record was “something I never made a goal of mine or set out to do – it just happened,” he said, and credited great teammates and great coaches that allowed him to be “me.”
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Lakers legend Magic Johnson, who was at Tuesday’s game and helped lure James to the Lakers in 2018 when he was the team’s president of basketball operations, hailed James on Twitter as “such an amazing man on and off the court.”
It wasn’t until the fall of 2006 after Abdul-Jabbar wrested the record away fromChamberlain that King James was born. Abdul-Jabbar was able to accumulate points for a long time due to his sky hook.
James said that he embraced the moment when it happened. It was very emotional seeing my family and friends, the people that have been around me since I started this journey to the NBA.
The teenage sons of James burst from their seats when the points were scored for the record-breaking shot they filmed. James’ daughter, Zhuri, 8, as well as his wife, Savannah, and mother, Gloria, were seen celebrating.
James received a plaque from Phil Knight, the CEO of Nike. The Cleveland and Miami Heat gave felicitations.
“I’ve been quoted on saying it’s hard to be LeBron James, or any superstar, or any entertainment, sport, athletic or business industry, because all eyes are on you. But he’s handled it extremely well.”
It turns out that just 10 players who have played at least 20 NBA seasons have ever taken over one of the sport’s most revered marks. Over that span, he’s gone to the NBA Finals 10 times, with the last of his four titles coming in 2020.
The points record is a testament to an athlete’s scoring ability, but also to their stamina and long-term durability. James’ statistics show his unparalleled ability to do many things.
This season, James has endured more losing than at most points in his career, with the Lakers mired in the lower half of the Western Conference. Anthony Davis has missed a lot of time because of a stress injury to his foot.
Joakim Noah, two-time NBA All Star and a former opponent of James, said that he is as special as it gets. A great player.
We had a lot of competition, but always tried 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.
He is a pass-first guy so he was able to lead the NBA in scoring and be a pass-first guy.
He ranks 10th in games played, ninth in assists, eighth in steals, fourth in three-pointers made, and fourth in free throws made.
James is a testament to both the amazing abilities he has as a basketball player, and his incredible longevity that he is still able to play for many years in his mid-twenties.
Incredibly, Jabari Smith Jr and Jabari Smith Sr are the ninth father-and-son duo that James has come up against in his career, the others being Kenyon and KJ Martin, Gary Trent Jr. and Sr, Gary Payton Sr. and Gary Payton II, Rick Brunson and Jalen Brunson, Glenn Robinson Jr. and Glen Robinson III, Adrian Griffin Sr. and Jr., Glen Rice Sr. and Jr. and Samaki Walker and Jabari Walker.
Such was the unprecedented hype around James while he was playing for St. Vincent – St. Mary High School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, that he signed a seven-year, $90 million contract with Nike on May 22, 2003, before he had even played an NBA game.
His high school basketball games were always packed to the rafters and regularly moved to the bigger home arena of the University of Akron, while some were even shown on national television and pay-per-view.
Abdul-Jabbar: A Star in the Game of Basketball, a Celebrating Veteran in the Life of a Basketball Player and an NBA Legend
I do not think we should be surprised. I think we should congratulate him and celebrate him as much as possible. He put on a lot of shows and it is not going to be very long.
We should have had a chance to play against each other, but I can’t say what will happen down the line.
He has been involved in many famous NBA moments, including the ‘blocked by James’ commentary from Mike Breen in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, the celebration after a Warriors win, and the pre-dunk celebration photo of him and D- Wade.
Irving, who hit the championship-winning shot in Game 7, said that he saw it when they were playing. “His ability to prepare himself mentally, spiritually, emotionally, game to game, day to day.
It’s likely many NBA fans would have Abdul-Jabbar as one of the other three players on their NBA Mount Rushmore, with Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain or Bill Russell making up the remaining spots.
“I think they both, besides just scoring points, they both had a drive to win to be a world champion, to be the best,” Dumars says. Intelligence and the drive to win, besides points, are similar to those two guys.
James’ current contract with the LA Lakers expires at the end of the 2025′′ season and he has stated in the past that he would like to play for one year with his son, who will likely enter the NBA draft in 2024.
Against the Los Angeles Clippers last month, he hit a career-high nine three-pointers in a game, while his inclusion in this year’s All Star game takes his number of All-Star appearances to 11, tying Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time record.
With his 46 points in that game against the Clippers, the Akron native also became the first player in NBA history to achieve the frankly ludicrous feat of scoring 40+ points against all 30 teams in the league.
James’ personality, marketability and, most importantly, his electric talent as a basketball player have made his name synonymous with the sport. Even fans of other sports, such as golfer Tiger Woods and footballer CristianoRonaldo, know about the name of their favorite player.
Dumars has no doubt that players will come along with the technical ability to break the record once again, but the longevity of James and Abdul-Jabbar, who played until he was 42, means it will still be incredibly unlikely.
He said that the game was evolving and things changed. They do not stay. It may take a while, but can someone come and do it? Someone can come and do it. But they’re going to have to be great for 20 years and that’s the thing with LeBron and Kareem, like 20 years.
Are people who are talented enough to do it? Yes. Can they stay healthy for 20 years? That is what will determine it.