There are many records in NBA history that have long been considered untouchable. For the longest time, one of those records was Los Angeles Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scoring the most points in NBA history.
During his 20 year career, Abdul-Jabbar revolutionized the ways in which a center could score, famously using the skyhook as one of his greatest weapons. In total, it led to him scoring 38,387 points. To this day, that sits 1,459 points ahead of second place, Karl Malone.
However, there was a time where Wilt Chamberlain’s scoring title was seen as untouchable as well. Another all-time great Lakers center, Chamberlain scored 31,419 career points, a number that seemed unfathomable before Abdul-Jabbar came along.
It was this day, April 5, in the middle of Abdul-Jabbar’s 15th NBA season, that he would cement himself as one of the true all-time greats. The Lakers were slated to play in a rare regular-season game in Las Vegas, Nevada against an above-average Utah Jazz team.
Normally, a game like this would hold no meaning, as it was the seventh-to-last game of the regular season and the Lakers were already locked into a playoff spot. However, it was clear that this would be the night Abdul-Jabbar would make history.
All in all, it was a relatively underwhelming performance for the Captain. He had 22 points, five rebounds and three assists on 10-of-14 from the field. But it was those 22 points that allowed him to get career point No. 31,420 to surpass Chamberlain as the greatest scorer in NBA history.
He moved to No. 1 that night, then helped the Lakers reach the 1984 NBA Finals, where they would eventually lose to the Boston Celtics in a tightly contested series. After that, he would go on to score almost 7,000 more points to cement his career total at what we see today.
For over 30 years, that record was completely untouchable. Today, it’s another Lakers star, LeBron James, who is one of the first to threaten Abdul-Jabbar’s throne. He currently sits at 35,283, 3,104 points behind the Hall of Famer. At a 25-point per game average, James could pass him in about 124 games, or one and a half seasons.
This would be a huge milestone for James, who views Abdul-Jabbar as one of his heroes on and off the court.
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