Last night the world got to witness a sports moment that not only hasn’t been seen since 1984, but one that may never be seen again. LeBron James scored his 38,388th points with ten seconds left in the third quarter against the Thunder, breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 38 year old record. After scoring his record breaking bucket, there was a near thirty minute break, congratulating ‘King James’ on his monumental achievement. In attendance was LeBron James’ Wife, both of his sons Bronny and Bryce, Kareem himself, Dwyane Wade, all of his high school basketball team, more than 200 media members, and every celebrity the great city of Los Angeles could hold in the Crypto Arena. LeBron cried during several interviews and pictures, including one with the legend Kareem himself. Never before have we seen a basketball game seemingly pause like that ever. The next time we may see an ordeal quite like that? Maybe the next guy to do it.
In the past decade, the debate between Michael Jordan and LeBron James for the greatest basketball player of all-time have not only gotten closer and closer every game, but louder. While LeBron is not 6-0 in the NBA Finals like Jordan, his new all-time scoring record alongside his already 4th all-time spot on the assists leaderboard certainly make it a debate. After looking at those incredible LeBron feats, don’t forget his nineteen All-Star Game appearances, his eighteen All-NBA selections, his four championships, four Finals MVPs, and of course his four regular season MVPs have to be the new subject on our minds.
In case you’re wondering when we could see this happen again, keep wondering. The next closest active player is Kevin Durant, who has nearly 27,000 points currently, 11,000 away from even touching LeBron’s newly set record. The biggest issue with that is Kevin Durant is 34 years old and has had a serious injury in his career, meaning he probably won’t play until he can’t anymore. KD is more likely to hang up the hightops on his own accord, maybe cracking the top-five in all-time scoring. A few other notable active players who could do it are James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and Steph Curry, but unless all of them play well into their 40’s or start a peak we haven’t seen yet, there isn’t really a slight chance they’ll come close. You could always look at Giannis, who is one of the most efficient players currently, but he started off his career too slow and it would be unfeasible for him to carry a more than thirty point per game average into his late 30’s. Zion is another player that looked like he had a chance, but with his injuries since getting drafted to the New Orleans Pelicans will halt him in breaking LeBron’s record unless he didn’t miss a game for the rest of his career, kept his incredible peak going, and played until he was about forty.
One player to seriously consider would be Mavericks guard Luka Doncic. Luka is five years into his NBA career and currently averages 27.4 points per game. If you know anything about Doncic, you know he’s one of the best prospects we’ve seen in the NBA since LeBron was drafted. In theory, if Luka kept his current average of 27.4, he’d have the record broken in 17 seasons or roughly 1,400 games. Let’s say Luka plays at this level until he is 36 years old, there is only one issue: LeBron isn’t done scoring. LeBron will god-willingly become the first NBA player to ever score 40,000 points, so whoever is coming up next isn’t just trying to break the once seemingly unbreakable record set by Kareem, they’re trying to break LeBron’s scoring record he has yet to even set.
Everyone knows that guy who always likes to obsess over LeBron and loves him to no end, and everyone knows that guy who hates LeBron like there’s no tomorrow, but last night, we all gathered around to watch him break the record. Rather than spend all of our time as fans debating why Jordan is better or why LeBron is better, we all should instead divulge our attention to respecting LeBron and appreciate the fact that we got to watch him in our lifetime.