LeBron James breaks all-time NBA points record in dramatic fashion as greatest-ever debate intensifies
LeBron James has become the leading points-scorer in NBA history after breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's 39-year-old record in Los Angeles.
The LA Lakers star went into Tuesday night’s game against Oklahoma City Thunder needing 36 points to surpass Abdul-Jabbar’s mark of 38,387 and delivered a 38-point masterclass, breaking the record in the dying seconds of the third-quarter.
The match was briefly paused for an on-court ceremony in which Abdul-Jabbar made a symbolic handover of a basketball, before the Thunder went on to win 133-130.
A star-studded crowd was in attendance to witness history at the Crypto.com Arena, including actor Denzel Washington, hip-hop artist Jay-Z and tennis great John McEnroe, with courtside seats reportedly being sold for more than £60,000.
“I thank you guys so much for allowing me to be a part of something I've always dreamed about,” James said in a short speech, after being joined by his wife and three children. “I would never in a million years have dreamt this to be even better than what it is tonight.”
James is widely considered one of the greatest sportspeople of all-time, though he called the debate over whether he is the greatest basketball player ever “great barbershop talk”.
As well as racking up a points total that now stands at 38,390 and counting, the 38-year-old has won four championships and been the league MVP four times across the course of his 20-season career.
“Me personally, I'm going to take myself against anybody who's ever played this game,” he said. “But everyone's gonna have their favourite, decide who their favourite is.
“I know what I bring to the table every single night and what I can do out on this floor. I always feel like I'm the best to ever play this game, but there are so many great ones and I'm happy to be just a part of their journey.”
Lakers head coach Darvin Ham joined the tributes post-game: “The expectations were all the way out to Pluto, and he went ahead and created his own galaxy.”