LeBron James became the first player in NBA history to record a 40-point game against all 30 franchises on Tuesday night as he inches closer to overtaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's league scoring record.
Another game, another record. That’s the norm at this point of LeBron James’ career, and the 38-year-old once again did something on Tuesday night nobody in league history has ever achieved. His 46 points against the Clippers made him the only player in NBA history to record a 40-point game against all 30 franchises.
LeBron’s fourth 40-point game of the season brings him even closer to surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time league scoring record, too. Kareem’s career mark, a monumental 38,387 points, has stood since he retired in 1989, when LeBron was five years old.
As of Wednesday morning, LBJ is 178 points away from breaking Abdul-Jabbar’s decades-long record.
There was plenty of anticipation ahead of Tuesday’s ‘Battle of LA’ matchup at the Crypto.com Arena between the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers, as it was widely-reported LeBron was on the doorstep of doing what no NBA player has done before – score 40 against every team.
Given the Lakers and Clippers only face off once more this regular season, LeBron was likely to give the fans what they wanted sooner rather than later. And with Anthony Davis still sidelined, the Lakers typically need a scoring outburst from James to have a chance at winning.
They got a scoring outburst – James canned nine threes, a career-high – but suffered their 26th loss of the season, dropping them to 13th in the Western Conference. Only seven NBA teams have a worse winning percentage than the Lakers in the 2022-23 season.
Extraordinary efforts from James in a losing effort have become a commonality for Lakers and NBA fans over the past few seasons. Since winning the NBA title in the ‘bubble’ in late 2020, the Lakers are 97-105 and have won just two playoff games across two-and-a-half seasons.
LeBron is the only player ever to have 40+ points against every team, but he is nowhere near the top of the list of 40+ point games. Wilt Chamberlain (271 games), Michael Jordan (173), Kobe Bryant (122), James Harden (101), Elgin Baylor (88), Allen Iverson (79), and Oscar Robertson (77) all have more than James (73).
If it hasn’t already happened, it won’t be long until fans and media members forget about what James achieved on Tuesday vs. the Clippers. A record with far more historical significance is on the verge of being broken.
LeBron is 178 points away from surpassing Kareem’s once-untouchable 38,387 career points, which will further cement the 4-time NBA champion as one of the greatest players of all-time. If he maintains his current pace, James (30.2 PPG) will become the NBA’s scoring king in six games, although he is favored to do so in seven or eight games from now.
LeBron is +185 to break the scoring record against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Feb. 7 (seven games from now), as well as against the Milwaukee Bucks on Feb. 9 (eight games from now). It is unlikely James participates in each of the Lakers’ next seven or eight games, as he typically takes a game off every one or two weeks for rest.