Record-breaking LeBron’s GOAT grab
Prepare for the NBA GOAT debate to go into overdrive.
In the most expected news of the day, LeBron James has finally passed a major milestone midway through the second quarter of the Lakers' game against the Denver Nuggets.
The 34-year-old scored his 32,293rd point in the second quarter with a layup.
Better yet, he was fouled in the process and slotted the extra point.
It was a sweet moment for James, passing the man he idolised as a youngster.
James was overcome with emotion after the basket but he had his idol on his mind.
He had a reminder on his shoes and couldn't contain his excitement before the game.
James began the night needing 13 points to reach the mark and now trails only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points), Karl Malone (36,928) and Kobe Bryant (33,643) on the all-time list.
James is one of the last active players old enough to witness Jordan in his prime with the Chicago Bulls.
James has said he grew up ad
miring Jordan as "the best ever" as he led Chicago to six championships in eight years during the 1990s.
"I take all accomplishments as they come," he said before the game. "Any time I'm in the breath with any other greats - and obviously M.J. being the guy that I looked up to my whole life, the guy I admired as a kid - I think it's going to be pretty cool."
Lakers coach Luke Walton also heaped praise on LeBron before the game.
"There are certain milestones that it's nice to take a moment and embrace and honour," he said.
"Michael is a guy that guys like LeBron, myself included, grew up watching. That is the guy, Michael Jordan. So to pass him in anything, especially scoring, would be something that we aren't going to see very often."
Jordan averaged 30.1 points in 1,072 games with Chicago and Washington.
James, who entered the NBA at 18 years old compared to 21 for Jordan, began the night averaging 27.1 points in 1,189 games over 16 seasons with Cleveland, Miami and the Lakers.
But James has never been a score-first player. Just eight days ago, James moved into 10th place on the assists list, becoming the first player in league history to make the top 10 in points and assists.
"To see where he is now is remarkable," Denver coach Michael Malone, an assistant coach with the Cavaliers from 2005-10 said. "He makes everybody around him better.
"He made us look like really good coaches in Cleveland. I know that LeBron James is arguably one of the greatest ever to lace them up, and this is a great accomplishment in his career."
It's also restarted the GOAT argument between the pair.
The record will also paper over the disappointment of the fans as their playoff dreams continue to fade away.
Going into the match against the Nuggets at 30-34, 5.5 games out of the playoff race, the season is set to be James' worst since his second season in the league in 2004-05, the last time his team missed the playoffs.
Now, the Lakers need a huge run to avoid missing the playoffs for a franchise-record sixth season.
"I knew coming into this year that it would be different," James said. "You take the challenge and you continue to stay positive, no matter what's going on. Throughout it all, keep your head high, and you keep pushing forward."
With the team's playoff hopes wilting, it
After three quarters against the Nuggets, the Lakers trail 85-77.
- with AP