Since his early days as a basketball player, LeBron James has viewed himself more as a passer than a goalscorer. But he’s always been dynamic on the edge, and later in his NBA career he developed a feel for the ball that made him even more dangerous offensively.
Twenty years of perfecting how to attack NBA defense has put James on the cusp of an historic achievement that once seemed impossible for anyone to achieve.
Los Angeles Lakers star James is 178 points from eclipsing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s career total of 38,387. Abdul-Jabbar has been the NBA’s career scoring leader since April 5, 1984 — more than eight months before James was born. Abdul-Jabbar played five more seasons for the Lakers after overtaking Wilt Chamberlain for that title.
As James nears the record, he has increased his goal tally to 35 points per game in January, up from 28.5 points per game in the first three months of the season. This season and 2021-22 have been two of the most successful of his career. While it would be difficult, 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 host the Milwaukee Bucks in a game between the two NBA teams that Abdul-Jabbar played for.
Wednesday against San Antonio Spurs
Saturday @ Boston Celtics
Monday @ Nets
Tuesday @ Knicks
February 2nd @ Indiana Pacers
February 4th @ New Orleans Pelicans
February 7 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
February 9 vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Here are some of James’ notable performances this season:
January 24 vs. Los Angeles Clippers: 46 points
The Clippers took an early lead, and from there, James’ long-range shooting seemed like the only facet of the game that seemed to work for the Lakers. James scored nine 3-pointers on 14 attempts, a career high.
James finished the night with 46 points, making it his first time scoring at least 40 points against the Clippers. He is now the first player ever to score at least 40 points in a game against all 30 NBA teams.
Despite James’ good night, the Lakers lost 133-115, which left James dejected at the end of the game sitting on the bench.
January 16 vs. Houston Rockets: 48 points
The Lakers had just come off close losses to the Dallas Mavericks and the Philadelphia 76ers and were on a three-game losing streak. James has had several impressive performances in losses this season, but he enjoys it more when the team wins. This game was his highest scoring of the season and took place on the second night of a back-to-back.
He was also reminded of his age when Houston rookie Jabari Smith Jr. told him during the game that his father played against him in James’ first NBA game in 2003. At 38, James is one of the oldest players in the league.
“I could have taken tonight off but I don’t feel that the momentum of our ball club would need me to take tonight off,” James said after the game. “I don’t feel like I wanted to be left with that loss to Philly last night. I kind of wanted to get that out of my taste buds.”
December 2 at Milwaukee Bucks: 28 points
This wasn’t one of James’ highest-scoring 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 defeated one of the Eastern Conference’s best teams on the road.
James’ 11 assists allowed him to pass Magic Johnson for the sixth-highest career assists in NBA history. It was also his 900th career win.