Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has been chasing a goal of becoming the NBA’s all-time leading scorer throughout the 2021-22 season. Meanwhile, his teammates and close friend Carmelo Anthony has used a prolific scoring career to get up to No. 9 on this list, behind Shaquille O’Neal.
On Saturday night, James lifted himself past Karl Malone to become the second-leading scorer all-time. He now sits just 1,440 points behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the No. 1 spot and continues to cement himself as one of the greatest to ever play the game of basketball.
For Anthony, James’ accomplishment prompted a moment of reflection for him and his friend of 19 years. Both are fully aware how improbable it is to be where they are at this point in their careers and lives. “It was so farfetched,” Anthony said of potentially reaching these heights in the NBA. “Going from NBA dreams, maybe his dreams a little different to the NBA to mine, but having those dreams and accomplishing those goals of being drafted and coming to the NBA to carrying franchises.
“Now, him passing Karl Malone on the scoring list. Myself having an opportunity to move up a notch on the scoring list, No. 9 or 8 or something like that, these are moments that we got to cherish. We shouldn’t take these moments for granted.
“I won’t allow him to take these moments for granted because we don’t get moments like this often, so we got to take advantage of that. We just got to celebrate the accomplishment. I think so much when you are dealing with sports it’s all about competing and wins and losses, but at the end of the day, you have a milestone like that, you have to celebrate that.”
While it’s disappointing that these scoring accomplishments are being marred by a losing season, very little can take away from how impressive James’ season has been. Anthony tries to call attention to this, saying that on a night like Saturday, the loss is second to the achievement.
Anthony’s support of James is great to see on two different levels. The first is through the lens of the friendship they’ve built during their years in the NBA. It’s rare to see two close friends accomplish so much as their careers progress together.
The second is as a competitor. For someone who ranks No. 9 on the all-time scoring list to see James become No. 2 is a type of history that is very rarely seen in this league. As Anthony said, these moments have to be cherished, even if they come in losses.
Anthony unsure why Lakers can’t keep momentum
While the accomplishment of James becoming No. 2 all-time on the scoring list was the big story, the Lakers once again were unable to keep a lead, losing to the Washington Wizards. Anthony spoke about the troubles the Lakers have had keeping leads.
“We have moments. We had three-fourths of a game tonight where we was at it,” he said. “We was active, we was playing with a different pace. Playing with a different confidence carrying over from last night’s game carried over to tonight. And then sometimes, we just had lapses out there. We allowed teams to get momentum, we allowed teams to get back in the game.
“We don’t put teams away and I think that’s our issue, but to answer your question, going into the Play-In Tournament and things like that, yeah, you want to play the right way. You want to get some momentum and some confidence, so when that time come, you don’t want to be starting from scratch with these Play-In games because you know everybody’s trying to do the same thing. Everybody’s trying to win.”
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