With a second-half basket against the Philadelphia 76ers, LeBron James has passed former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant in total career points, moving him into the third spot among the NBA All-Time Scoring Leaders. James now only trails Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (ranked No. 1 with 38,387) and Karl Malone (No. 2 with 36,928) in career scoring.
Here is video of the moment:
LeBron James gets to the bucket to move up to 3rd on the all-time scoring list! pic.twitter.com/almofNRKrg— NBA (@NBA) January 26, 2020
In a classy move, the Sixers stopped the game to acknowledge the moment:
The scene from Philly, where the Sixers stopped the game to acknowledge LeBron passing Kobe on the all-time scoring list. pic.twitter.com/mUSB2b0hmL— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) January 26, 2020
Kobe also tweeted his congratulations during the game:
Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother #33644— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 26, 2020
After the Lakers’ 128-113 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night, James was asked by reporters what getting to the No. 3 spot — which he was 17 points away from tying and 18 points away from passing at the time — would mean when he reached it, and well, it doesn’t sound like it was exactly at the top of his priority list (via Spectrum SportsNet):
“To be honest, not very much. To be linked with the greats, that means a lot to me. Because I grew up idolizing Michael (Jordan), idolizing Kobe, idolizing these guys, gaining inspiration from their craft, gaining inspiration from their stories (while) being a kid from Akron, Ohio, so that’s huge. Anytime I’m linked with the greats or I’m able to do something in my career where I’m mentioned with any of the greats, that’s a pretty cool thing.
“But as far as looking at the scoring, I don’t know, that doesn’t mean much to me. The overall point of my game is what means more to me. Me being able to be an overall all-around player, me being able to be successful on the floor, and being able to contribute to the franchises that I’ve played for, the three franchises I’ve played for so far in my career.”
James has certainly done that, making moves on and off the floor to helped put the Lakers in their best position to win a title in nearly a decade. He has gone out of his way to make plays for his team to win games, but not necessarily to assemble arbitrary thresholds for counting stats. He’s been a huge part of assembling a culture that cares about every game, and achievements have come naturally as a result:
“All the things that I’ve done in my career as far as the individual accolades, things just kind of happen organically because I just go about my business. I don’t think about it going into it, saying ‘okay this is what I got to do, this is how many points I need, this is how many assists I need.’
“When it happens, it happens, if it happens, so I don’t know how I’m gonna feel when it happens. But it’s a pretty cool thing, you’re just linked with one of the greatest of all time.”
When it’s all said and done, James might well be considered the greatest of the greats. He took another step towards that tonight, even if he was just going about business as usual.
For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.