LeBron James needed 36 points on Tuesday to catch Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the NBA’s all-time leader in points scored.
Against the Oklahoma City Thunder, James accomplished the feat by the third quarter.
James scored 38 points on Tuesday as the Lakers lost a high-scoring 133-130 contest to the Thunder. But few will remember the result of the game as ticket prices for Tuesday surged in anticipation of James breaking the record.
The game took a brief pause as the Lakers and NBA honored James. Abdul-Jabbar was in attendance to congratulate James.
“I would never ever in a million years have dreamt this better. F---, man,” James said.
But many others did. James was arguably the most hyped high school athlete in history, taking Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary to three state championships. James played in front of sold-out crowds across the country as a high school senior in 2002-03. His games were shown on national TV and magazine covers featured him.
He then was the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft in 2003, selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
James then spent his first seven NBA seasons in Cleveland, reviving a struggling organization into a winner within a few seasons. He helped the Cavs reach the NBA Finals in 2007.
But the Cavs struggled to build a strong team around James. In 2010, he opted to take his talents to Miami, where he went to the NBA Finals in four consecutive seasons, leading the Heat to two NBA titles.
He then returned to Cleveland, and with young point guard Kyrie Irving and newly acquired forward Kevin Love by his side, he helped the Cavs win their first-ever NBA title. James also appeared in four straight NBA Finals while in Cleveland.
But with James also getting into entertainment after filming a second Space Jam movie, he moved to Los Angeles in 2018. The Lakers struggled in his first season there. Amid a disruption in the NBA schedule due to COVID-19 in 2020, James led the Lakers to a title in the NBA’s so-called “bubble.”
After losing in the first round of the playoffs in 2021, Los Angeles missed the playoffs in 2022 and is on track to miss the postseason again this season.