Since his basketball debut, LeBron James has considered himself more of a passer than a scorer. But he was always dynamic at the rim, and later in his NBA career he developed a shooting touch that made him even more dangerous offensively.
Twenty years of perfecting exactly how to attack NBA defenses has brought James on the cusp of a historic achievement that once seemed nearly impossible for anyone to achieve.
Los Angeles Lakers star James is 178 points away from eclipsing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s career total of 38,387. Abdul-Jabbar has been the NBA’s leading career scorer since April 5, 1984, more than eight months before James was born. Abdul-Jabbar played five more seasons for the Lakers after passing Wilt Chamberlain for that title.
As James approached the record, he increased his goal production to 35 points per game in January from 28.5 points per game in the first three months of the season. This season and 2021-22 have been two of the best scores of his career. Although it’s tough, it’s possible he could break the record against the Knicks on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden, one of his favorite arenas. Four games later, the Lakers will host the Milwaukee Bucks in a game between the two NBA teams Abdul-Jabbar played for.
Wednesday against San Antonio Spurs
Saturday @ Boston Celtics
Monday @ nets
Tuesday @ Knicks
February 2 @ Indiana Pacers
February 4 @ New Orleans Pelicans
February 7 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Feb. 9 vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Here are some of James’ notable performances this season:
Jan. 24 vs. Los Angeles Clippers: 46 points
The Clippers took a big lead early, and from there, the only facet of the game that seemed to work for the Lakers was James’ long-range shooting. James made a career-high nine 3-pointers on 14 attempts.
James finished the night with 46 points, making it the first time he had scored at least 40 points against the Clippers. He is now the first player to score at least 40 points in a game against all 30 NBA teams.
Despite James’ good night, the Lakers lost 133-115, leaving James dejected as he sat on the bench late in the game.
Jan. 16 vs. Houston Rockets: 48 points
The Lakers were coming off narrow losses to the Dallas Mavericks and Philadelphia 76ers and were on a three-game losing streak. James has produced several impressive performances in losses this season, but he appreciates it more when the team wins. This game was his highest score this season and came on the second night of a straight streak.
He also received a reminder of his age when Houston rookie Jabari Smith Jr. told him during the game that his dad played him in James’ first NBA game in 2003. At 38, James is one oldest players in the league.
“I could have very easily taken the day off tonight, but I don’t think the momentum of our ball club could use me to take a night out tonight,” James said after the game. “I don’t feel like I want to sit on that loss to Philadelphia last night. I wanted to kind of take that off my taste buds.
December 2 at Milwaukee Bucks: 28 points
It wasn’t one of James’ standout games, but it was one that showed the Lakers’ potential when they’re at full strength. Anthony Davis was healthy and scored 44 points as the Lakers beat one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference on the road.
James’ 11 assists allowed him to pass Magic Johnson for the sixth most career assists in NBA history. It was also his 900th career victory.