Although the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Brooklyn Nets 109-98 on Thursday night, LeBron James reached another career milestone by reaching 35,000 career points being only the 3rd player in NBA history to do so.
Entering the game, he needed just 15 points to achieve the milestone, and he wasted no time to get there as he sunk a free throw late in the second quarter to officially reach the 35k mark.
The achievement in itself is stunning, LeBron doesn’t actually move up the all-time scoring list and remains in 3rd place behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone. Even at the age of 36, the Laker star forward has shown no signs of slowing down anytime soon so the question now is can he catch Karl and Kareem, and if yes, when?
LeBron now has 35,017 career points — only 1,911 points behind NBA legend Karl Malone, who is second on the all-time scoring list with 36,928 points. As long as LeBron is healthy and playing his best basketball like he’s been playing his entire career, it’s just a matter of time before he catches and eventually passes the Utah Jazz legend.
LeBron is currently averaging 25.9 points per game this season, and if he continues averaging 25 ppg moving forward, he is projected to pass Malone in around 76 games. Given LeBron would play all the games in this year’s 72-game season, he would still need roughly 35 games to reach the milestone, meaning he should be scheduled to pass Karl in the middle of next season.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the greatest scorer this league has ever known. He has stayed at the top of the all-time scoring list ever since he passed Wilt back in 1984. Finishing his illustrious career with 38,387 points, no one has come close to reaching him, and there was some doubt if anyone could ever reach him. But behold LeBron James has arrived and has a high chance of actually achieving the impossible.
If LeBron can average 25 points a game for the next couple seasons, he should be on pace to pass Kareem in 134 games. With 82 games in a typical NBA season, he would need around a season and a half to reach Kareem. Given LeBron is healthy and playing every game on the Lakers’ schedule, The King should pass Kareem in the 2022-2023 season. The current Laker forward is on contract with the Purple & Gold until 2023, which gives him a great opportunity to attain the number one spot.
LeBron James has been just so consistent over his 18-year career reaching milestone after milestone each year. He is set to be a 17-time all-star after being named a starter yet again for the 2021 All-Star Game.
With no signs of slowing down, it’s just a matter of time before he reaches and passes the two top scorers in NBA history and becomes number one on the all-time scoring list.
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