Following one more defeat in the course of a lost season, LeBron James was asked a matter at Miami’s FTX Arena that invited him to flee the losing moment to broaden and brighten his view.
What did James take into consideration being inside striking distance of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s heralded all-time NBA scoring record of 38,387 points?
“As I’ve continued to climb the ranks, it’s natural, human, to take a look at it and see where you’re and see if it’s even possible,” the Los Angeles Lakers star said in January. “We’ll see what happens. I’ve never chased a record in my life. I’ve never sat down and said, ‘OK, let me see if I can get this record, let me see if I can get that record.’ …
“It’s one among those things that you just never think could possibly occur.”
Abdul-Jabbar has held the torch because the league’s top scorer since April 5, 1984 — nearly nine months before James, who will turn 38 in December, got here into the world.
In other words, though James says he never imagined he would pile up more points than The Captain, possibly he was born to do that.
While James’ march toward the scoring crown will attract the most important highlight in his twentieth season, there shall be loads of other ways he can elevate his place within the NBA record books.
Here’s a have a look at all of the statistical superlatives James is approaching in 2022-23:
LeBron James needs 1,326 points to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s scoring mark. Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports
The massive one
James comes into the season with 37,062 profession points, needing 1,326 points to pass Abdul-Jabbar’s mark.
If he averages 27.1 points per game — his profession average — and doesn’t miss any games, James would set the record within the Lakers’ forty ninth game on Jan. 25 at home against the San Antonio Spurs.
Adding time for rest or the inevitable injury or two considering how the past several seasons have gone for James — plus an expected dip in his scoring average with Anthony Davis back healthy — it’s more feasible that James would catch Abdul-Jabbar later within the campaign.
All-Time Scoring: LeBron Closing In On No. 1
|Entering the 2022-23 season|
If he averages a more modest 24 points per game and misses 15% to twenty% of the season, James can be nearing the plateau somewhere within the range of Game Nos. 65 to 68.
That coincides with a homestand in early March when the Lakers host the Golden State Warriors (March 5), Memphis Grizzlies (March 7), Toronto Raptors (March 10) and Latest York Knicks (March 12).
The query is, can James reach the apex in a win? James eclipsed the past 4 scoring legends on the all-time list — Dirk Nowitzki, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Karl Malone — during losses by the Lakers, putting a damper on the person accomplishment.
James can also pass Wilt Chamberlain for the second-most 30-point games in league history by topping 30 seven times to bring his profession total to 515. Jordan has essentially the most with 562.
Because the No. 1 pick straight out of highschool in 2003, James’ profession achievements were often accompanied by the youngest ever to accomplish that. As his time within the league approaches 20 years, that has flipped. He often is the oldest to achieve these feats.
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“I literally try to arrange my mind and my body and my soul on how I can stay young in a young man’s game,” James said last season. “The folks that’s at all times attempting to chase you or folks that sort of say that you just’re too old to be at this [level] still. So, it’s just at all times a each day reminder, and sometimes you do need to remind people which you could still do what you do at a high level.”
James can proceed to climb the ladder in two accumulation categories this season. He enters the campaign third all time in minutes played with 52,139, needing 2,714 more to pass Malone for second. He would need to be within the lineup for around 75 games to do this. Abdul-Jabbar tops the list with 57,446 minutes.
Speaking of games played, he’s 14th on the all-time list with 1,366. If he plays in 59 contests this season, he would move as much as eighth, passing Clifford Robinson, Reggie Miller, Jason Kidd, Tim Duncan, Jason Terry and Kevin Willis.
One other Lakers legend in sight
All-Time Assists: LeBron closing in on Magic
|Entering the 2022-23 season|
James’ game has often been in comparison with Magic Johnson’s due to his potent combination of size and court vision. And all of James’ pinpoint passing over time has him in position to pass Johnson on the all-time assists list.
James is seventh with 10,045, just 97 assists behind Johnson for sixth.
Already the one player in league history to rank in the highest 10 in total points and assists, James would develop into the one player to rank in the highest five in those categories with 291 assists to maneuver him past Mark Jackson in fifth place and Steve Nash in fourth.
3s and frees
James averaged 30.3 points last season — the second-highest scoring average of his profession — thanks largely to his contributions on the stripe and beyond the arc.
His 75.6% mark from the free throw line was his best clip since 2011-12, and his 161 3-pointers were essentially the most he has ever made in a season.
He’s fourth on the all-time freebies list with 7,836 and wishes 543 more to pass Bryant for third, which is able to likely take a few more seasons considering he had 254 makes from the road in 2021-22.
James could move past Paul Pierce for No. 10 on the all-time 3s list as soon as opening night on Oct. 18, as he’s just 4 behind his longtime on-court rival.
If he hits 151 3s on the season, James also would pass Jamal Crawford, Jason Terry and Vince Carter on the all-time list.
James is 97 assists away from passing Magic Johnson for sixth all time. Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images
Boards and triple-doubles
James quietly had the most effective rebounding seasons of his profession in 2021-22, together with his 8.2 boards representing the fourth-best single-season average.
With 10,210 profession rebounds, he ranks No. 38 on the all-time list. If he adds 500 boards this season, he’ll shoot as much as No. 32, passing Otis Thorpe, Bill Laimbeer, Dave Cowens, former teammates Tyson Chandler and Ben Wallace, and David Robinson.
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James is the one player in league history with 30,000 profession points, 10,000 rebounds and 10,000 assists, so it’s no wonder he is also amongst elite company in terms of the all-time triple-double list.
He’s No. 5 with 105 and wishes three to pass Kidd for fourth. James racked up six triple-doubles last season, bringing his total since his thirty fifth birthday to 17 — greater than double another player in NBA history in that age bracket.
If the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame required entrants to pick out one signature play to define their careers, James can be sending a 2016 NBA Finals clip of his Game 7 chase-down block on Andre Iguodala to Springfield, Massachusetts.
James comes into the season No. 93 on the all-time blocked shots list; if he matches his total from last yr of 59, he would jump up 13 spots to tie Bob Lanier and Buck Williams for No. 80 with 1,100 profession swats.
James also knows tips on how to play the passing lanes on the defensive end of the court, rating No. 10 on the all-time steals list. He’ll vault two-time Defensive Player of the 12 months Hakeem Olajuwon for No. 9 with 27 more swipes and pass Clyde Drexler for eighth place with 72 steals.
After missing the playoffs for just the fourth time in his 19-year profession, James would let you know that getting the Lakers back within the postseason is his top priority over any individual accolade.
James said this summer he felt so overlooked of the league’s biggest stage that he found himself waking up at 3 a.m. while on vacation within the Maldives to tune in to games as they happened live.
“As much as I don’t need to observe it, since it burns my stomach to not be a component of those games, since it’s the very best time to play basketball, like, the fan in me cannot [resist],” James said on an episode of his YouTube talk show, “The Shop: Uninterrupted.” “I just find it irresistible.”
James missed the playoffs for just the fourth time in his 19-year profession. David Richard/USA TODAY Sports
It’s no wonder why he loves the postseason. He ranks No. 1 in playoff history in points, field goals, free throws, steals and games played. Not to say, he’s the one player to rank within the postseason top 10 in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks.
While he’ll have a tough time catching the 2 guys above him for all-time postseason 3-pointers — he’s third behind the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson — there are a few categories by which he could gain some ground.
James is second in all-time playoff triple-doubles, needing three more to pass Johnson for the highest spot.
And if he can accumulate 118 rebounds, he’ll pass a pair of former Lakers big men in Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal to go from sixth to fourth in all-time postseason boards.
While James has piled up so many records at this point that many barely appear to register with the Lakers star, Abdul-Jabbar’s scoring total is one which has his attention.
“I’m sort of in awe of it,” James said Monday when asked about nearing Abdul-Jabbar’s mark. “Like, ‘Wow.’ … To take a seat here and to know that I’m on the verge of breaking probably essentially the most wanted record within the NBA, something that individuals said would probably never be done, it’s just super humbling for myself. I believe it’s super cool.”