LeBron James of the Lakers scored 38 points Tuesday night in LA against the Oklahoma City Thunder, crowning him as the NBA’s all-time scoring leader. The record was held for nearly 40 years after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar set it back in 1984.
With a fadeaway mid-range shot made late in the third quarter, James made history.
Just about everyone in Crypto.com Arena was on their feet, phones out and recording. Teammate Russell Westbrook passed the ball to James and the crowd got a little louder, anticipating that this was the shot to break the record.
A couple dribbles, some separation, and a fadeaway shot from James, and the crowd went eerily quiet as the ball seemed to move in slow motion towards the basket before swishing through the net. The crowd erupted in cheers and screaming as they witnessed history firsthand.
The whistle blew and the game was paused for about ten minutes, giving LeBron some time to celebrate and bask in the moment, accompanied by his family, friends, teammates, and even the now second all-time NBA scoring leader, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
LeBron’s sons, Bronny and Bryce, sat courtside beside Nike co-founder, Phil Knight, just beneath the basket that LeBron broke the record. As cameramen and officials surrounded LeBron on court after making the shot, his sons rushed up to be beside him, as well as his daughter Zhuri and his wife Savannah.
But the first person he hugged on court was his mother, Gloria.
Unfortunately the Lakers ended up losing the game 133-130, but that didn’t seem to bother anybody too much considering the circumstances.
Many congratulations around the league were given to James, including from the NBA commissioner Adam Silver, Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young, LeBron’s former teammate Kevin Love, NBA veteran Chris Paul, and even Lakers legend and former team president Magic Johnson.
“I want to personally thank you LeBron for trusting & believing in me & the Lakers in 2018 when I was president of basketball operations,” Johnson wrote on Twitter. “Everything you said you would do, you’ve done; led the Lakers to a championship, elevated the Lakers brand, & gave back to the city of LA!”
After the game, LeBron and other people in attendance were asked about what it was like to be there and witness history.
“Everything just stopped,” LeBron explained. “It gave me an opportunity to embrace it and look around and seeing my family, the fans, my friends. It was pretty cool. I probably can count on my hands how many times I have cried in 20 years, either in happiness or in defeat. So that moment was one of them when I kind of teared up a little bit. It was ‘I can’t believe what’s going on’ tears.”
Kareem also congratulated the 19-year veteran on his accomplishment Tuesday night.
“LeBron’s career is one of someone who planned to dominate this game,” Kareem said after the game. “And it’s gone for almost 20 years now. You have to give him credit for just the way he played and for the way he’s lasted and dominated. He has that indefinable essence that they call leadership.”
Congratulations to LeBron James for making history, something he intends on continuing, saying last night, “I’m not going anywhere.”
One other thing, though. Here’s something thatI found interesting with the numbers involving the record:
LeBron entered the game needing 36 points to pass Kareem’s record of 38,387 points, which he set when he was 37 years old. LeBron is 38 years old and finished the game with 38 points, setting the record at 38,390 points. The record was set 39 years ago. It’s just weird how numbers can line up like that in moments like these.