LeBron James, a forward for the Los Angeles Lakers, completed a five-game road trip on Saturday night in New Orleans, putting him on the verge of passing Magic Johnson as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.
After scoring 27 points in the Lakers’ 131-126 loss to the Pelicans, “King James” now needs just 36 points to surpass fellow Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-record Jabbar’s 38,387 career points.
James, who is 38 years old, is averaging more than 30 points per game in his 20th season and has already made it to his 19th All-Star game. He has shown no signs of slowing down.
Next week, when the Lakers host the Thunder on Tuesday and the Bucks on Thursday, he will have two chances to achieve what he has dubbed “one of the greatest records in sports” at home.
The cost of tickets for those games has predictably risen, and the biggest Hollywood stars are anticipated to be seated courtside.
The milestone is eagerly anticipated by fans worldwide, and the league has announced that any game where he has a decent chance of breaking the record will be nationally televised.
What kind of shot he will take to win the title is all that remains to be determined at this point.
In recent warm-ups before games, James has been spotted practicing the skyhook, a shot perfected by Abdul-Jabbar, suggesting that a tribute to the Hall of Famer may be in the works.
But if a player scores a dunk, mid-range jumper, three-pointer, or even a free throw, the game will be stopped while an epic celebration takes place at Crypto.com Arena.
James’ case for being regarded as the greatest of all time will be strengthened by breaking the nearly four decades-old record that Abdul-Jabbar took from Wilt Chamberlain on April 5, 1984.
When the Akron, Ohio native was chosen first overall as a teenager amid a media frenzy in the 2003 NBA Draft, he had an immediate impact on the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers organization.
Since then, he has steadily moved up the scoring list and more than lived up to the lofty expectations placed on his broad shoulders.
James has dominated the NBA for the past 20 years, winning four championships with three different teams, being chosen to a record-tying 19 All-Star games last month, and being a perennial MVP contender.