LeBron scored 44 points against Portland, continuing his assault on the NBA record books.
LeBron James leapt over another of his immortal predecessors on the all-time scoring charts on Wednesday night at Staples Center. The 33-year-old icon passed Wilt Chamberlain for 5th place when he scored his 31,420th career point in the Lakers’ 126-117 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
LeBron’s arrival in LA has come with much fanfare and even some fan resistance. The early losing and the struggle to develop chemistry with his new teammates has left James as frustrated as he’s ever been. After Wednesday’s 126-117 win over the Portland Trailblazers at Staples Center, the Lakers are 8-6 and in 7th place in the Western Conference, which is about where most reasonable analysts expect them to be at season’s end.
Regardless of how well the Lakers do as a team this season, Magic Johnson knew that LeBron’s assault on the all-time record books would put a favorable spotlight on the Lakers and keep the squad relevant.
“It’s just beautiful to watch him play. It’s just fun how he rallies everybody,” the Lakers President and five-time World Champion said back in September. “He’s like a magnet.”
As Bron continues his record-breaking tour, he’s definitely making merchandise sales and TV interest for LA better. If James simply meets his yearly points average of 2,609.2 in his first season with the Lakers, he will pass Kobe Bryant for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list while rocking LA purple and gold and wearing MJ’s No. 23.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time scoring record is a more elusive milestone, but still possible if James continues to perform at an All-star level for three or four more years as most basketball enthusiasts insist he will.
Even if maintained his per season scoring average that he’s maintained over his 15-year career for the next three seasons, he’d need at least four more years to eclipse Kareem’s record of 38, 387 career points.
By the time LeBron’s four-year tenure in LA is complete, he should also be second on the all-time field goals made list, passing Kobe and Wilt “The Stilt” along the way. He’ll finish his LA contract first or second all-time in field goal attempts, once again knocking Kobe down a notch on that list.
LeBron will also most likely wind up second all-time in free throws made, surpassing Bryant and Lakers legend Jerry West, aka The Logo, in his rise up the stats board. He’s sure to pass Kobe and Shaq on the free throws attempted list and he has a great shot at surpassing Wilt for second place all-time.
Catching Kareem in scoring is a bit far fetched, but if LeBron, who dropped 44 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists against Portland on Wednesday, continues to maintain this level so late in his career, anything is possible.