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It was a memorable night for American LeBron James after the 38-year-old broke Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 39-year record to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.
The NBA legend who rose both arms in celebration and looked to the sky when he reached the landmark achieved the feat despite his team Los Angeles Lakers’ 130-133 defeat to Oklahoma City Thunder.
James was able amass 38 points in the narrow loss, surpassing Abdul-Jabbar’s tally of 38,387, which had stood since 1984 National Daily learnt.
It was quite interesting as Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers legend Abdul-Jabbar was in attendance and stood to applause when James broke the record.
During a brief break in play, the 75-year-old ceremoniously handed over the ball to James to mark the achievement as the new record-holder gave a speech on court.
‘To be able to be in the presence of a legend and great as Kareem, it means so much to me,’ said James, a four-time NBA champion.
‘Everybody that has ever been a part of this run with me the last 20-plus years, I want to say thank you so much because I wouldn’t be me without all you. You all helped. Your passion and sacrifices helped me to get to this point.
‘And to the NBA to Adam Silver, to the late great David Stern, thank you very much for allowing me to be a part of something I always dreamed about. I would never in a million years dreamt this to be even better than what it is tonight.’
Abdul-Jabbar, who retired in 1989, added: ‘I thought it had every chance of being broken. It just had to have someone that the offense focused on continually.
‘LeBron’s career is one of someone who planned to dominate this game. You have to give him credit for just the way he played and for the way he’s lasted and dominated.’
James is in his 20th season in the NBA and enjoyed spells as Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat before joining the Lakers in 2018.
Remarkably, the modern-day great has won won four MVP titles, appeared in 10 NBA Finals and won two Olympic gold medals for the USA.
A host of star names watched on as James surpassed the NBA scoring record, including tennis legend John McEnroe, boxer Floyd Mayweather, musician Jay-Z and actor Denzel Washington.
Asked in his post-match press conference if he considers himself the best NBA player of all time, James said: ‘I’ll let everybody else decide who that is, but it’s great barbershop talk.
‘Me personally, I’m going to take myself against anybody who’s ever played this game. But everyone’s going to decide who their favourite is.’
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