LeBron James becomes NBA's all-time top scorer; surpasses record held by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar since 1984

LeBron James
Posted at 12:00 AM, Feb 08, 2023

LeBron James is truly The King.

Tuesday night, James broke a nearly 40-year-old scoring record held by Kareem Abdul Jabbar since 1984. Abdul Jabbar held the top spot for nearly four decades with a total of 38,387 points. It was a record not even the great Michael Jordan could surpass.

But with a classic James step-back, he broke that record.

LeBron James becomes NBA's all-time top scorer; surpasses record held by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar since 1984

When James stepped onto the court Tuesday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder, he was just 36 points shy of beating the record.

To do so, James surpassed his average score of 27.2 points per game to grab the top spot. Had he not broken the record Tuesday, he would have likely done it on Thursday against Milwaukee.

Now that James is No. 1, the all-time scorer list has shifted. Abdul Jabbar is now No. 2, Karl Malone No. 3, Kobe Bryant No. 4, and Michael Jordan No. 5.

In anticipation of James' record-breaking performance Tuesday, ticket sales for seats in L.A. skyrocketed. For two specific courtside seats — 166 and 167 — the prices reached five figures at $75,000 and with Ticketmaster fees, more than $180,000.

But fans are willing to pay, and with all eyes on LeBron, the NBA changed the national television schedule for Tuesday, rearranging things to get the Lakers-Thunder game into the second slot of the usual TNT doubleheader for that night — with Commissioner Adam Silver saying the league wanted to make sure it got as many eyeballs on the record-breaking moment as possible.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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