LeBron James buried his face into a towel and took himself back to those days of playing hoops, even in the rain and snow, with his friends in Akron, Ohio. Now a 16-year NBA veteran, the "Kid from Akron" had just passed Michael Jordan, his childhood idol, on the all-time scoring list.
"We all wanted to be MJ," James said. "Every last one of us. It's crazy."
With an and-1 layup in the second quarter of Wednesday's loss to Denver, James reached 32,295 career points, moving ahead of Jordan (32,292) for fourth place in NBA history.
With James’ ascension, only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), Karl Malone (36,928) and Kobe Bryant (33,643) have ever scored more points in the NBA. And by passing Jordan, LeBron made it that all four of the top scorers have played in a Lakers uniform.
James, who has averaged about 2,000 points per year in his career, is on pace to pass Bryant next season.
LeBron’s first year with the Lakers has been filled with career milestones. In addition to Jordan, he has also eclipsed Wilt Chamberlain and Dirk Nowitzki on the all-time scoring list this year, while becoming the only player among the league’s top 10 in both career points and assists.
And while injuries have cost him 18 games played and potential team success, James has been an elite scorer and playmaker this season, ranking seventh league-wide in scoring (27.0) and third in assists (7.0).
As he continues to climb among the game’s greats, James maintains his potential to eventually surpass Abdul-Jabbar as the leading scorer of all-time. His 27.15 career points per game rank fifth, behind Jordan (30.12), Chamberlain (30.07), Elgin Baylor (27.36) and Kevin Durant (27.16).