Records are meant to be broken, no matter how untouchable they may seem. Just ask LeBron James, who secured the unthinkable earlier this month, before jumping right back into a playoff push.
On Feb. 7, the former Miami Heat superstar became the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, with a 38-point performance for the Los Angeles Lakers. However, the one negative from this historic moment, was the Oklahoma City Thunder stole the win in a 133-130 decision over the Lakers.
“To break the record, I was able to get to a really good spot on the floor where I’m very comfortable with and get to one of my patented fade away shots,” James said in his postgame press conference.
The moment James let go of that fade away, the whole crowd seemed to like it knew it was going in. It seemed poetic, and it gave a story-book feeling to everyone watching at that moment in time, even Heat fans watching their former leader back home in Miami.
But now, with the record established, and the NBA All-Star Weekend complete, James is back to the business of trying to get the Lakers back in the postseason. At the All-Star Game in Salt Lake City, in fact, James called the rest of the regular season “the most important games of my career.”
It took James 20 seasons to achieve the scoring record, and when he scored his 38,388th point, the amount of emotion that poured out was evident. This record would not have been possible if it was not for his longevity, and his ability to maintain his all-time great playing style. This season alone, at 38 years old, he has hovered around a 30-point per game average.
“His willingness to attack from any and all areas, whether he’s handling the ball, whether he’s off the ball, playing pick and roll as the handler and the screener, catch and shoot threes, threes off the dribble, pushing it with pace and transition, getting to the rim. I mean he’s multifaceted, you know, you can’t put him in a box,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said after the record breaker.
Ham, James and the Lakers have a battle on their hands in the Western Conference to secure a postseason berth. But for that one night, in Los Angeles, there were other talking points.
“Personally, you know it’s just an honor to be named with the greats,” James said. “Being in the conversation with the greats that played this game before me, some of the greats that are playing right now, and there are going to be some greats when I’m done playing the game.
“It’s always a surreal feeling to me.”
Thirty-nine years ago, on April 5, 1984, Abdul-Jabbar passed Wilt Chamberlain’s record with 31,420 points scored, and he finished his career with 38,387 career points.
No one would have ever thought that the player who would break Abdul-Jabbar’s record, would be born only eight months later in the small city that goes by the name of Akron, Ohio.