Cleveland Cavaliers point forward LeBron James is now in the eighth spot of the all-time NBA scoring list after making the 28,000-point mark during a game with the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on February 4.
What made the milestone important is the fact that LeBron is actually the youngest player in NBA history to reach the 28,000-point plateau, giving critics and statisticians the collective notion that he would be on course to making it all the way to the top five of NBA’s all-time scoring list, details the Bleacher Report.
The three-time NBA champion entered the game against the Knicks averaging 25.7 points per game on 52.7% shooting, making him one of two players, along with Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant, averaging at least 25 points per contest while knocking down better than 50% of his total looks from the field, notes NBA.com.
The 32-year-old NBA superstar reached the milestone in the second quarter of the game with the Knicks, when he drilled a deep fadeaway jump shot over Courtney Lee.
James has ascended the league’s scoring charts at an unprecedented pace, having already passed the likes of Hakeem Olajuwon, Oscar Robertson, Moses Malone and Tim Duncan on the all-time scoring list.
Next up is Shaquille O’Neal, who occupies the seventh spot with 28,596 points. At this point, it’s simply a matter of when James will pass Shaq’s numbers.
On pace to break 30,000 points
LeBron only needs to score 597 points to eclipse the record of Shaq and it seems very easy for King James.
The next hurdle would be the record of Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks, who at 29,797 points as of February 4 is currently ranked sixth on the all-time scoring list.
Nowitzki is still actively playing for the Mavs but the current season might be his last so after taking over Shaq’s numbers, Lebron might have to hurdle more than 1,600 points to eclipse the record of Dirk.
Barring any season-ending injuries in the next few years until he retires at around the ages of 39 or 40, critics believe that LeBron James is on course to hit 30,000 points at least. The bigger question now is whether he still has enough gas left in his tank a few years down the road to overtake Wilt Chamberlain’s record of 31,419 points or Michael Jordan’s thereafter.
LeBron James has evolved into a well-rounded player. Unlike the time when he first played in Cleveland, he was the go-to-guy and the lone scorer in the team.
When he went to play for Miami for three years, he was not so much of a scorer but more as a playmaker and he only scores when he needed to.
Critics are saying that it would be tough for LeBron to shoot on overtaking the scoring record of Chamberlain since there are just too many guys on the Cavaliers roster who can score as much as he does.
Thus, the pundits are saying that he could be on pace to making it to the top five NBA all-time scoring list but it would be a stretch to see him do better than Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant, although there are still more years ahead of him in the NBA.
Focusing more on the championships
After Wilt’s record, Michael Jordan’s 32,292 points is up, which is barely 1,200 points away from Chamberlain’s points total.
Kobe Bryant is at third with his 33,643 points. It can be recalled that Kobe Bryant, just like LeBron James, entered the NBA straight from high school so they were expected to have longer years in the league.
Kobe spent 18 years in the league with his farewell season last year. In his last two seasons in the NBA, he was no longer considered a prolific scorer.
The second spot belongs to Karl Malone with his 36, 928 points and the top spot, which would be a tough record to break is held by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 38,387 points.
At this juncture in his career, it seems likely that LeBron is focusing more on winning two or three more championships before he retires for good.