LeBron James Breaks Kareem’s NBA Scoring Record Reactions

Michael Jordan shakes hands with Miami Heat forward LeBron James, after the Heat defeated the Bobcats, 109-98, in Game 4 of the NBA Eastern Conference quarterfinals at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, April 28, 2014. (David T. Foster III/Charlotte Observer/TNS via Getty Images)


After the record-breaking NBA shot, James raised both hands into the air as he looked skyward. Photographers quickly circled him on the court, as chants of “MVP, MVP” rained down from the crowd at Crypto.com Arena.

The game was stopped as some members of James’ family, including his wife, mother and his three children, took the floor for a ceremony recognizing the moment. The Lakers played a video filled with highlights of James’ career on the arena videoboard, after which commissioner Adam Silver and Abdul-Jabbar joined James at center court.

“A record that has stood for nearly 40 years,” Silver said. “Many people thought it would never be broken. LeBron, you are the NBA’s all-time scoring leader. Congratulations.”

But while Abdul-Jabbar took 1,560 games to record his total, James set his record in just over 1,400 appearances. Michael Jordan has the most points per game in NBA history with 30.1. James is fifth on that list with 27.1, just behind another active player, Kevin Durant (27.3).

Abdul-Jabbar, who had held the record since April 1984, has said he welcomes James’ progress. “I want [other players] to break my records because doing so is one more benchmark of human progress,” he wrote for the Guardian in 2019. “… Each time an athlete demonstrates that a person is capable of more than we thought, they have inspired all of humanity to realize that they are capable of reaching further than they thought possible.”

As for the future, James has said he wants to play alongside his son, Bronny, who won’t be eligible to join the NBA until 2024 at the earliest. By then James would be well north of 40,000 career points if his scoring rate continues.

Official NBA records are based on performance in the regular season. However, James also holds the scoring record for combined points in regular-season and playoff games. He broke Abdul-Jabbar’s record of 44,149 points in last season’s playoffs.