38,390 points and counting
Assistant Sports Editor
On April 5, 1984, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar would score his 31,420th point of his career, breaking the NBA’s all time scoring record, which at the time had been held by Wilt Chamberlain. Abdul-Jabbar would end his career with a total of 38,387 points, a record that remained unbroken for 38 years until it was broken by LeBron James on Tuesday.
James grew up in Akron, Ohio where he would play for his hometown team, St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. The media touted him as a future star in the NBA, he gained the nickname “The Chosen One,” as he had all the hype around him coming out of highschool. James would skip college and enter the draft. He was selected with the first overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers where his illustrious career began. He would go on to win the 2004 NBA Rookie of the Year, his first of many accolades to come.
After leading the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals in 2007, he couldn’t get the job done as the team failed to beat the San Antonio Spurs. James then took that personally. He won back to back MVPs in the 2009 and 2010 season and his career as a Cavalier looked promising. James would then leave the Cavaliers for the Miami Heat during the television special “The Decision” in what is regarded as one of the most controversial free-agent decisions in NBA history.
It proved to be the right decision as James would win back to back NBA championships in 2012 and 2013. He also won MVP and NBA Finals MVP in both of those years. He would opt out of his contract and decided to re-sign with Cleveland, going back to his home. He would bring them to the finals for the next four seasons. During the 2016 NBA Finals, the Cavaliers became the first team to ever come back after being down 3-1 in the finals, beating the Golden State Warriors in seven games. James would bring the city of Cleveland its first championship in 52 years. Again, James would leave during free agency, but this time, sign with the Los Angeles Lakers.
He won the 2020 NBA Finals with the Lakers, taking home the NBA Finals MVP as well. Along with the accolades, James has been a prolific scorer since entering the league. He was the youngest person ever to record 1,000 points in the NBA, and it didn’t stop there. Nearly 20 years later, James would make history as the only person to break Abdul-Jabbar’s all time scoring record with his 33,388th point during Tuesday's game versus the Oklahoma City Thunder.
James has been one of the best players in the NBA since entering, and is in every debate about who is the greatest NBA player of all time. His dominance has lasted 20 years and he doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. He will continue to break records and his name will come up in every G.O.A.T debate for the foreseeable future. Every point he scores from now on is history, a record that may not ever be broken, or will be held for many years to come.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story said that James scored 33,390 points to break the record and that Abdul-Jabbar scored 33,387 at the end of his career. Those errors have since been corrected to say 38,390 for James’ career points and 38,387 for Abdul-Jabbar’s.