LeBron James Passes Wilt Chamberlain for 5th on NBA All-Time Scoring List
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 29: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers is seen at the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on October 29, 2018 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James moved into fifth place on the NBA‘s all-time scoring list, climbing past Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain.

Entering Wednesday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers, James needed 39 points to claim the fifth spot from Chamberlain. He achieved the feat with a free throw in the fourth quarter. 

The next step up the scoring chart holds a significant symbolic importance. Assuming he reaches 32,293 career points, James will overtake Michael Jordan for fourth place.


NBA All-Time Scoring List Top Five

1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387)

2. Karl Malone (36,928)

3. Kobe Bryant (33,643)

4. Michael Jordan (32,292)

5. LeBron James (31,420)


“When I’m able to do what I love to do, and do it at this level—and even being mentioned with the greats that have ever played this game—it just always brings me back to my hometown of Akron, [Ohio],” James said after the game (h/t ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin).

“And knowing where I come from, knowing how hard it was to get to this point—it’s just never being in satisfied mode. I give it all to the man above for giving me God-given abilities. I’m taking full advantage of ’em. And then my coaching staff and my teammates throughout these 16 years so far have gotten me to this point.”

McMenamin also noted that “James said the ball and his jersey from the game would be sent to his I Promise School in Akron for display.”

Even at 33, James entered Wednesday averaging 26.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 7.1 assists in his first season with the Lakers. Just as impressive, he has welcomed the uptempo style head coach Luke Walton wanted to implement, and Los Angeles ranks third in pace, according to NBA.com.

Chamberlain is the second legendary name James leapfrogged this season. Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki was in sixth place on the scoring list before LeBron’s 35-point effort in a 110-106 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Oct. 27.

Nowitzki commented on how James may ultimately be able to wrest the top spot from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

If he stays healthy, the way he’s looking and moving, he has a chance at Kareem,” Nowitzki said, per ESPN.com’s Tim MacMahon. “His numbers have been unbelievable. He doesn’t seem to slow down. The stuff he was doing last year in year 15 was incredible. If he keeps this up, he can pass Kareem.”

Long before he can set his sights on Abdul-Jabbar, James will first have to topple the greatest player in NBA history. A little over 800 points separate him from Jordan, so it’ll be a little while before he is within striking distance.

Assuming he can maintain a 25-point-per-game pace, James should get there sometime inside the next 40 games, giving him ample time to catch Jordan this season.

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