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Tracking LeBron James’ pursuit of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time scoring record

As LeBron James enters his 20th season in the NBA, his sights will be firmly set on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as he chases the all-time scoring record.

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Los Angeles Lakers v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

LeBron James’ long, long list of impressive accolades looks set to have its crown jewel placed atop it in the coming year. Entering this season, LeBron sits just 1,325 points behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the all-time scoring record. It’s a point total LeBron has reached in every season but one, that being the COVID- and injury-shortened 2020-21 campaign.

For reference, to break that record, LeBron would have to average just 16.2 points per game over an 82-game season. Now, there are a lot of factors that will go into that total, whether it’s the fact he’s never averaged fewer than 20.9 points per game or that he’s played 82 games only once in his career.

Because of that, we’ll keep an updated tracker of LeBron’s point total after each game this season and how many points away from Kareem’s record he stands as well. Right now, as previously noted, LeBron James sits 1,325 points behind LeBron James before the season starts.

If LeBron were to match his career average of 27.1 points per game and played every game, he would pass Kareem in the 49th game of the season against the Spurs at home. Obviously, it’s pretty unlikely he plays each of the first 49 games of the season but LeBron is also coming off a season where he averaged 30.3 points per game. If he were to average that figure, he’d pass Kareem in the 44th game of the season.

LeBron Chasing Down Kareem

PPG Games To Catch Opponent Date
PPG Games To Catch Opponent Date
24 55.2 vs. Bucks Feb. 9
25 53.0 at Pacers Feb. 2
26 51.0 at Nets Jan. 30
27 49.1 at Celtics Jan. 28
28 47.3 vs. Clippers Jan. 24
29 45.7 vs. Grizzlies Jan. 20
30 44.2 vs. Kings Jan. 18
31 42.7 vs. 76ers Jan. 15

Both those contests come in a stretch of home games games for the Lakers where 12 of 15 games will be at Arena. Realistically, though, that will be a stretch that may be hard to hit with the aforementioned Spurs game being the final game of that stretch.

Looming right around the corner from that stretch is a trip to New York and Madison Square Garden in the 52nd game. There is also a stretch of games from Feb. 7, game 55, through Feb. 23, game 60, where the Lakers play four of six games at home. There’s also the hilarious scenario where he does it against the Golden State Warriors in game 57, saving Draymond Green from a potentially awkward situation.

Ultimately, trying to predict the game LeBron may break the record is a moot point given all the factors. Instead, continue checking in on this tracker after each game to see where he stands after each game in the race to 38,387 points.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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