The King

Well, sure enough and against many of the odds that he’s typically faced, he did it: LeBron James is the all-time leading scorer in the history of the National Basketball Association.

While it did always feel like it was leading to this, it was also so precarious, so tied to externalities that could have gone any number of ways, that even thinking about it before three or four years ago required numerous ifs. No more: the greatest player of his generation and one of the – at most[1] – three greatest players ever is now his sport’s greatest scorer.

Kareem being in the building is nice. John McEnroe being in the building is funny, but also nice. Jay-Z drinking wine on the sidelines? Luxuriously nice. LL Cool J? More like LL Nice J. LeBron throwing a few threes into the mix while wearing the headband as a throwback? Nice, and, coincidentally, I’m reminded of how old we all are.

It’s a regular season record, which is part of why occasions like this always feels so unceremonious; he passed Kareem last year for combined NBA regular season and playoff points. The capital-B Big Thing about this is that he started scoring in The League out of high school, and that high school players weren’t able to make the leap to the NBA after 2005; LeBron may very well outlive both the birth and death of the one-and-done era. On its face, that probably would’ve been enough, but he has been so much more.

 The Lakers deferring to him in a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, a good and formidable team with a slight lead in the Western Conference standings, feels misguided and so very modern Lakers. No matter: LeBron James is a scorer, and now, finally, he’s the greatest scorer in NBA history.

[1] Top two, and he ain’t two, but anyway.


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