People don’t think of scoring first on a list of LeBron’s basketball achievements. This record he holds over Kareem and Michael Jordan should change that.
LeBron James is cherished for his basketball dominance in a variety of categories but his scoring is often overshadowed by his versatility, his ball-handling and passing, his quickness and agility for a player of his size and strength. If asked someone to list the best players in NBA history, he wouldn’t be left out of many top fives. But if you asked someone to name the best pure scorers in NBA history, he’d probably be further down on plenty of lists.
Which is kind of absurd if you think about it.
Only four players have a higher career points-per-game average — Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor and Kevin Durant. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the only player in NBA history who has scored more total points than LeBron and there’s a chance that record eventually falls to him. He also has the sixth-highest points-per-game average in postseason history and he’s scored nearly 2000 more career postseason points than any other player.
But if you really want to put LeBron’s insane scoring accomplishments in their proper, historical light, consistency is a good context. As an astute Redditor pointed out, LeBron has scored in double-digits for 1,096 straight games. That’s an active streak that stretches back to Jan. 6, 2007, when he was just 22 years old and in his fourth season.
And he’s kept it alive in some wild circumstances. Over that streak, he’s had 13 games where he scored in double-figures in 25 minutes or less, including 17 points in 15 minutes against the Kings in 2020, and 28 points in 25 minutes against the Wizards in 2015.
How do Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Jordan compare to LeBron James’ double-digit scoring streak?
LeBron’s streak isn’t just the longest in NBA history. It’s 230 games longer than the next closest, by Jordan. That’s nearly three full seasons’ worth of games. Only five other players in NBA history — Jordan, Abdul-Jabbar (twice), Karl Malone, Kevin Durant, Moses Malone — have a double-digit scoring streak of even 500 games and LeBron is over 1,000.
At this rate, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s scoring record should fall before the end of the 2022-23 season, and “pure” or not, LeBron will be undisputed as the best scorer in NBA history.