The NBA has a new scoring leader in LeBron James after he broke Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's nearly four decade-old record on Tuesday night.
The Los Angeles Lakers forward nailed a 21-foot step-back jump shot with 10.9 seconds left in the third quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder to take his career total to 38,388 points.
Television coverage at the Staples Center in Los Angeles showed James outstretch his arms, throw both hands in the air and smile, with the game stopped so the forward’s family could join an on-court ceremony to mark the moment.
Abdul-Jabar, who became the league’s leading scorer on 5 April 1984 before retiring five years later with 38,387 points, rose from his seat at the game to applaud his successor and fellow Laker.
EVERY ANGLE of the bucket that made LeBron James the NBA's all-time leading scorer 📽️#ScoringKing pic.twitter.com/BVUr9x78BH— NBA (@NBA) February 8, 2023
It comes after the 38-year-old in August became the highest-earning player in NBA history when he signed a two-year extension with the Lakers worth $97.1m (€85.5m).
James, who has now played 1,410 NBA games, joined the Lakers from the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2018.
The man who engineered the move, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, expressed his gratitude to James.
"I want to personally thank you, LeBron, for trusting and believing in me and the Lakers in 2018 when I was president of basketball operations," Johnson tweeted.
"Everything you said you would do, you've done: Led the Lakers to a championship, elevated the Lakers brand, and gave back to the city of LA!"
20 seasons.— NBA (@NBA) February 8, 2023
One #ScoringKing pic.twitter.com/Z8gxCnBET5
James secured his fourth championship with the Lakers’ NBA Finals victory over his former side the Miami Heat in 2020.
But his big moment on Tuesday was unfortunately not enough to lift his side, who gave their visitors a scare at the death before falling 133-130.
James finished the game with 38 points, and 38,390 total, as the Lakers’ second straight loss left them third-bottom of the Western Conference.