Anthony Davis insisted his reluctance to celebrate LeBron James' NBA scoring record was related to the state of Tuesday's game rather than any issue between the two Los Angeles Lakers superstars.

James broke Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's long-time record against the Oklahoma City Thunder, but Davis did not look to join his Lakers team-mates in saluting the new scoring king.

Fan footage posted on social media showed Davis sat on the bench, with his view of the court obscured by standing Lakers, as James made his historic fadeaway jumper.

That reaction prompted puzzlement from those on the outside of the organisation, but Davis provided an explanation on Thursday.

As he pointed out, the Lakers trailed the Thunder at the time of James' history-making bucket, which saw the game paused, and LA were unable to rally later in the 133-130 defeat.

Speaking after another home loss against the Milwaukee Bucks, seeing the Lakers fall to 25-31 in 13th place in the West, Davis appeared irked by mention of the topic as he said: "You all know mine and Bron's relationship. It's nothing.

"It's about the game. We're losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder, a game we needed. And I was p***ed off that we were losing. It's that simple.

"It's nothing that has to do with Bron. He knows that.

"Everybody else is outside looking in, it's their opinion. But I was p***ed off that we were losing the game."

LeBron James said it felt "surreal" to see his name up in lights as the NBA all-time record points scorer, revealing the heroes who inspired his journey to the top of basketball.

The 38-year-old addressed the crowd at Crypto.com Arena on Thursday night, telling them how Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant had been long-time inspirations, while hailing his mother Gloria and wife Savannah.

With 38 points against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday, James moved to 38,390 in his regular season career, surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's long-standing record of 38,387.

Coming up for 20 years as an NBA player, the former Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat star is in the fifth year of his Lakers stint.

He told of how his journey to the summit of professional sports came against all odds, being founded on his admiration for great men of basketball and the powerful women in his life.

"Growing up in a small town of Akron, Ohio, in an underprivileged single-parent household, only child, you feel like you're never going to make it out," James said.

"You feel like the statistics are built up against you, you feel like the system is built against you to not succeed, you feel like there's no way you're going to have an opportunity for your dreams to become a reality, and I didn't allow those moments to deter me from my dreams.

"I had dreams every day of playing in the NBA, I had dreams every day of being an inspiration to so many people.

"I had dreams of one day being able to throw no-look passes like Magic Johnson, to be able to shoot fadeaways like Michael Jordan, to be able to have a cross-over like Allen Iverson, to be able to have an afro and jump in a dunk contest like Kobe Bryant.

"I looked up to so many athletes and so many people along my journey, and they gave me the inspiration and allowed my dream to not die.

"I always felt it was my job and my responsibility to come out and play the game at a high level and be as great as I can be, because there is a kid in the inner city somewhere that's looking for inspiration and is going to need it and maybe get it from me."

James sat out the Lakers' 115-106 home loss to the high-flying Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night, making his speech before the game.

With his mother and wife with him on the court floor, James said: "As I look up at this jumbotron and seeing the 'NBA all-time leading scorer', it's so surreal to me. But the one thing I know for sure is I never cheated a game of basketball and I would never cheat in a game of basketball because it's given so much to myself, given so much to my family.

"My beautiful wife is the real MVP if you want to be completely honest, she's the all-time leading scorer. My family is everything to me, and you guys [in the Lakers crowd] over the last five years have become family to me as well.

"Every night I step on the floor, I understand I truly have a huge responsibility and understand what it means to represent the Los Angeles Lakers when I step on this floor, so thank you so much."

The Brooklyn Nets are off to a winning start after trading away both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant at the trade deadline, defeating the Chicago Bulls 116-105 with their new-look line-up.

In his first appearance since arriving as the key piece back from the Dallas Mavericks in return for Kyrie Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie looked right at home as he delivered a game-winning performance.

Dinwiddie – who spent five season with the Nets from 2016-2021 – was clearly the focal point of coach Jacque Vaughn's offense. He started, led the team with 39 minutes played, and posted team-highs in points (25), assists (six) and steals (four) with a plus/minus of plus 25.

The only player with a better plus/minus was fellow former Maverick Dorian Finney-Smith, who was plus 32 in his 35 minutes, scoring nine points and grabbing nine rebounds after immediately stepping into a key role.

Brooklyn were without both Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson, who they acquired from the Phoenix Suns in return for Kevin Durant, and when interviewed during the game, Bridges said they hope to debut in their new colours on Saturday against the visiting Philadelphia 76ers.

For the Bulls, Zach Lavine was impressive with a game-high 38 points on 16-of-25 shooting, although he did not contribute much else, with one point, one rebound, no steals or blocks, and four turnovers.

With the win, the Nets improved their record to 33-22, and they now sit 3.5 games clear of the play-in race, comfortably in the fifth seed for the time being.

Orlando's depth delivers Denver demise

The Orlando Magic reserves dominated the Denver Nuggets' bench to pull out a 115-104 home win against the Western Conference leaders.

It was another typical masterclass from reigning back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic, scoring 29 points on 10-of-19 shooting with 12 rebounds and six assists, but the Nuggets lacked further firepower in the absence of Jamal Murray, who troublingly missed his third game in a row with knee inflammation.

Denver were plus eight in Jokic's 38 minutes, but were outscored by 19 in the 10 minutes he was on the bench.

Orlando were led by a terrific Cole Anthony showing, coming off the pine to score 17 points with seven rebounds and seven assists, while Bol Bol had 17 points in 15 minutes.

Giannis too big, too strong for undermanned Lakers

LeBron James was out and the Los Angeles Lakers' new arrivals were also not ready as Giannis Antetokounmpo carried the Milwaukee Bucks to a 115-106 victory.

The Lakers should have their newly constructed line-up when they next take the floor – having acquired Jarred Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley and D'Angelo Russell at the deadline while shipping off Russell Westbrook – but Anthony Davis' 23 points and 16 assists was not enough against the Bucks.

Antetokounmpo controlled proceedings with a game-high 38 points on 14-of-23 shooting, adding 10 rebounds and six assists, while Khris Middleton looked like his All-NBA self with 22 points (10-of-18) off the bench.

LeBron James deserves to be acknowledged as one of the NBA's all-time greats, according to Kyrie Irving as he paid tribute to his former team-mate's achievements.

The Los Angeles Lakers veteran overhauled Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time scoring record during a 133-130 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder this week.

Having needed 36 to break the figure, the 38-year-old posted 38 to end the game with 38,390 career points to his name, further underlining his status as one of the sport's giants.

Irving, who was recently traded from the Brooklyn Nets to the Dallas Mavericks, played with James at the Cleveland Cavaliers, and was effusive in his admiration for his latest record.

"I just enjoy seeing him celebrate himself, in those moments where a lot of hard work that doesn't necessarily get talked about or seen by others is on full display," he said.

"I got a chance to play three special years with him. It's a celebration to witness history like that, within the game that's so special to all of us.

"We should acknowledge when greatness is in front of us.

"I know we've all [these] superlatives for LeBron. You've got the stans on one side, you've got the real supporters on one side.

"I think it's just great for the game that we can all come together collectively to celebrating somebody and his accomplishments like that."

A four-time NBA champion and four-time MVP pick, James is also a two-time Olympic Gold Medallist after success at Beijing 2008 and London 2012.

Irving made his Mavericks debut during a 110-104 win against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday, scoring a team-high 24 points.

Russell Westbrook's spell with the Los Angeles Lakers is coming to an end as he prepares to join the Utah Jazz ahead of the NBA trade deadline.

According to The Athletic's Shams Charania and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Lakers plan to send Westbrook, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Damian Jones and a 2027 first-round pick to the Jazz; Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley will go the other way.

The Lakers are also reported to be getting D'Angelo Russell from the Minnesota Timberwolves, who will receive Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Mike Conley and a second-round pick compensation in return.

Westbrook's Lakers future had been in doubt, with many expecting him to depart before Thursday's deadline.

The Lakers had apparently been keen on using Westbrook in a trade to acquire Kyrie Irving from the Brooklyn Nets.

But his move to the Dallas Mavericks went through quickly after he requested a trade last week.

Westbrook, the 2017 NBA MVP, was claimed to have engaged in a heated verbal exchange with Lakers coach Darvin Ham at half-time during Tuesday's game against his former team the Oklahoma City Thunder, in which LeBron James broke the all-time NBA points record.

While ESPN reports they "dapped up" before leaving after the game, it was another hint of things not being quite right for Westbrook in LA.

Despite their being questions about his form this season, Westbrook is still ranked fifth for assists (391) this season – Russell, one of the Lakers' new arrivals, is tenth (334), though he is averaging more points per game (17.9 to 15.9).

Westbrook is set to play on his fifth team in as many years, having spent time with the Thunder, the Houston Rockets, the Washington Wizards and the Lakers since 2018.

Patrick Mahomes will look to etch his name into the history books again on Sunday with victory in Super Bowl LVII, and he received inspiration ahead of the Kansas City Chiefs' clash with the Philadelphia Eagles from LeBron James' record-breaking exploits.

James scored 38 points for the Los Angeles Lakers against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday, that tally seeing him move to 38,390 in his regular-season career and surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's long-standing record of 38,387.

LeBron's history-making feat was a hot topic as the Chiefs spoke to the media on Wednesday, with Mahomes effusive in his praise for the man many consider the greatest basketball player of all time.

"Yeah, I mean, first off, I talk to him every once in a while and try to gain as much advice as possible," Mahomes said at a press conference. 

"But I think you gain inspiration because, I think, you heard him talking about it last night. It wasn't something that he was chasing.

"It wasn't something that he even thought was possible. He just continued to work every single year, every single day. And he got there and he's still at it, playing at a high level. And so, like I said, it's legendary stuff.

"I mean, there's some records that no one thinks will ever be broken. And to see a guy that puts in the work every single day and gets to that milestone who's not even a scorer first, he's one of the greatest scorers of all time and has the most points of all time. But he's not even a scorer.

"He just continues to work and work and try to win championships, and he's able to reach goals that I don't think anyone ever thought were going to be broken."

LeBron James brought the NBA to a standstill on Tuesday. Even the Los Angeles Lakers' game against the Oklahoma City Thunder was paused.

With 38 points at Crypto.com Arena, James moved to 38,390 in his regular season career, surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's long-standing record of 38,387.

The four-time champion has been the league's pre-eminent star across stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Miami Heat and the Lakers.

Now, across basketball history, he stands alone.

It is a remarkable achievement and only becomes more impressive when delving into the numbers behind James' new record.

Beating the Thunder

The Thunder may have put a slight dampener on James' big night by winning Tuesday's game, but the 38-year-old actually has more career points than Oklahoma City's entire active roster combined (21,900).

Indeed, the Thunder are merely one of five rosters James can better, along with the Indiana Pacers (36,515), the Orlando Magic (33,164), the San Antonio Spurs (32,364) and the Houston Rockets (28,642).

Had James not got over the line on Tuesday, he would have done instead against the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday – and that would have been fitting, too.

James has scored more points against the Bucks (1,751) than against any other team. In fact, the Thunder (994) are the team he has scored the third-fewest against – more only than against the Lakers (829) and the Cavaliers (580), two teams he represented.

The Lakers forward scored at least 1,000 points against each of the other 27 teams, while he has scored 1,000 in each of his 20 NBA seasons. That is another record he has taken from Abdul-Jabbar (19).

James would have no doubt enjoyed being able to achieve this legendary feat in front of a home crowd, but he has actually scored more points on the road (19,251 in 694 games) than at home (19,139 in 716).

Unsurprisingly, however, Cleveland's Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse is the arena to have seen the most James points (11,670). The Lakers' Crypto.com Arena (4,649) nudged ahead of the Heat's Miami-Dade Arena (4,613) into second place on Tuesday.

Wade's helping hand

In that home crowd in LA, sitting in front of Lakers owner Jeanie Buss, was Dwyane Wade, a two-time title-winning team-mate of James' on the Heat.

Wade also joined James on the Cavaliers for a season and, although now retired, has assisted more points for the new all-time scoring leader than any other player (776).

Eric Snow (630) is second on that list, with Mario Chalmers (591) third and Mo Williams (501) fourth, followed by Kevin Love (486) and Kyrie Irving (469).

Russell Westbrook has only been playing with James in LA since 2021, but he is ninth on 375. Anthony Davis (269) is 11th and Chris Bosh (267) 12th.

Ricky Davis assisted James' first NBA points and 42 altogether. Davis, who retired in 2010, was the first of 148 different players to assist James.

But the bulk of James' points have been unassisted, of course. His 26,855 unassisted points alone would rank him 13th in the all-time list, ahead of Kevin Durant (26,684), who is second to the Lakers man among active players.

James has scored 10,882 points from layups, 8,074 from two-point jump shots and 8,047 from free throws. Of the rest, 6,711 have come from three-pointers, 4,190 from dunks, 310 from hook shots and 176 from tip-ins.

Another Lakers record

The record was reached with a fadeaway jumper, and several members of Lakers royalty were in the house to see it – including Abdul-Jabbar.

James followed Abdul-Jabbar as the seventh different player to lead the NBA in all-time scoring since the end of the league's first season in 1946-47.

Four of those seven have now represented the Lakers, with James and Abdul-Jabbar joined by George Mikan (1952-53 to 1957-58) and Wilt Chamberlain (1965-66 to 1983-84). Chamberlain took ownership of the record while a Philadelphia 76er, before playing for the Lakers.

Chamberlain succeeded Bob Pettit, one of the remaining three who did not turn out for the Lakers. Joe Fulks, the leading scorer in the NBA's first season, and Dolph Schayes are the others.

Luka Doncic, just 23 and with 8,531 points through 311 career games, is perhaps the most credible challenger to James' crown. James had 8,319 points through 311 games, albeit he was only 22.

Matching James' longevity is a huge ask; either way, he will be number one for a long, long time.

Time spent at the top is a record Abdul-Jabbar can at least retain for now, having ranked first in scoring for a mammoth 14,187 days. The NBA was only 13,671 days old when he took the record, meaning he led the league for more than half of its existence.

Still more to achieve

That is not the only Abdul-Jabbar mark that remains, with the 75-year-old out in front on 57,446 minutes played. James (53,743) is third, while he is tied for ninth in games played (1,410) – a statistic led by Robert Parish (1,611).

Abdul-Jabbar is the man to beat for MVP awards, too, with six, and James' four appear unlikely to be added to now, given his age and the Lakers' woes.

James should pass Abdul-Jabbar for All-Star selections, though, as the pair are tied on 19, while the modern great already has a leading 13 All-NBA First Team selections.

In the playoffs, James already topped the charts for points (7,631) and games played (266), although the 'GOAT' debate will rage on as Michael Jordan has the edge in Finals MVPs (six to James' four).

Among players with 500 or more games, Jordan (30.1) is also the leading man for points per game in the regular season, even if James (27.2 in fifth) is averaging 30.2 this year, the third-highest mark of his career.

At that rate, even if James cannot reel in Jordan, he should be able to establish a considerable buffer to any and all pretenders to his new crown.

United States president Joe Biden has praised LeBron James for "inspiring the nation" after surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time regular season NBA scoring record.

Los Angeles Lakers forward James entered Tuesday's game with the Oklahoma City Thunder needing 36 points to break Abdul-Jabbar's record, which had stood for 39 years.

The four-time MVP moved past Abdul-Jabbar's 38,387 career points to go outright number one with a 14-foot fadeaway jumper late in the third quarter at Crypto.com Arena.

James' game-high 38 points on 13-of-20 shooting with three steals were not enough to prevent the Lakers from losing 133-130 to the visiting Thunder.

But it was job done on an individual level as he strengthened his case as being the greatest basketball player of all time – a debate that will rumble on for some time.

A number of sports stars and wider global figures have paid tribute to James, who now has 38,390 career points to go with the four NBA titles won with three different teams.

"LeBron, congratulations. With your whole heart and soul you broke a hell of a record. You elevated the game," US president Biden said in a video message. 

"More than that, like Kareem, Bill Russell and others who came before you, you challenged and inspired the nation to be better, do better and live up to our full promise."

James rose with both arms in celebration after making history and posed for photos with 75-year-old Abdul-Jabbar, who was in attendance in Los Angeles.

Fellow Lakers great Magic Johnson said: "I never thought that Kareem's scoring record would be broken by anybody. 

"It means more to myself and to our fans because you're wearing that purple and gold and broke it as a Laker. 

"This historic moment is so special because we will never see another LeBron James."

James has 7,314 points across five seasons with the Lakers, having previously scored 23,119 in 859 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers and 7,919 in 294 for the Miami Heat.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver added: "It's a towering achievement that speaks to his sustained excellence over 20 seasons in the league. 

"And quite amazingly, LeBron continues to play at an elite level and his basketball history is still being written."

James is averaging 30.2 points per game this season, which is the seventh-best record in the division, narrowly ahead of Kevin Durant (29.7) and Stephen Curry (29.4).

Golden State Warriors guard Curry and Brooklyn Nets forward Durant also congratulated James on his remarkable achievement.

"Your sustained level of play for 20 years, reaching this pinnacle of scoring in basketball, it is unbelievable," Curry said. 

"Way down the road, when we're reflecting back on our careers, we'll be able to be at that level knowing what it was like to battle at the highest level."

Durant added: "It's even funny to just even say that, coming from where you have come from, how hard you grinded for this long. 

"It's been an inspiration since day one. Much love and keep setting the bar high."

LeBron James' off-court legacy is even more impressive than becoming the NBA's all-time leading regular season points scorer, suggests Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

James broke Abdul-Jabbar's record on Tuesday in the Los Angeles Lakers' 133-130 defeat to the Oklahoma City Thunder, with a fadeaway jump shot late in the third quarter seeing him pass the 38,387 points Abdul-Jabbar racked up with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Lakers before retiring in 1989.

James is also the fourth-highest assist maker in league history and has also won four NBA Championships, yet Abdul-Jabbar believes it is what the 38-year-old has done off the court that makes him so special.

The LeBron James Family Foundation set up a school in his hometown of Akron in Ohio, while also providing rent-free housing for up to 16 families for those in need.

James has also been active in his support of non-profit organisations and vocal on global issues, including the Black Lives Matter movement.

Abdul-Jabbar lauded James for his off-field activities, telling the TNT post-game crew: "What LeBron has done off the court is more important than what he has done on the court.

"He has sent kids to school. He has provided leadership and an example of how to live.

"I was very impressed with his family. His mum, I met her a couple of years ago when they played a couple playoff games in Cleveland. 

"LeBron came out and introduced me to his mum, so he really has the right values. Family, hard work, and all those things lead to success."

On the court, Abdul-Jabbar pointed to James' longevity and his leadership as the keys to his success, adding: "LeBron's career is one of someone who planned to dominate this game. 

"He got out of high school, he had the size and the talent to step right into the NBA, and he immediately started to have his effect.

"It's been going for almost 20 years now, so you've got to give him credit for the way he planned to last, and to dominate.

"He led teams to three world championships, and they didn't get there because of someone else and LeBron tagged along, LeBron led them. He has that indefinable essence that they call leadership.

"When he gets out there on the court and tries to get things done, guys want to get behind him and see that it happens, because they have that much respect for him and his talent."

LeBron James was the biggest story in sports on Tuesday as he became the NBA's all-time scoring leader, but the Oklahoma City Thunder got the last laugh.

James reached the legendary record late in the third quarter, with a turnaround jump shot from the free throw line bringing up his 36th point of the game, and his 38,388th regular season point overall to surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's 39-year-old record.

But it was the Thunder leading 104-99 at the time of the basket, and it would be the Thunder coming away with the 133-130 victory.

Oklahoma City were led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who remains one of seven players this season averaging at least 30 points per game (30.8) after scoring an even 30 on nine-of-17 shooting, adding eight assists and two steals.

Rookie wing Jalen Williams was terrific with 25 points (10-of-19 shooting), seven rebounds and six steals, while point guard Josh Giddey added 20 points (10-of-19), six assists and five rebounds.

James ended up scoring a game-high 38 points on 13-of-20 shooting with seven rebounds and three steals, while Russell Westbrook put together one of his better performances this season with 27 points (10-of-19), eight assists and two steals.

With the win, the Thunder improved their record to 26-28 to sit 11th in the Western Conference, although things are so tightly bunched that they are only 2.5 games back from the six seed. 

The Lakers fell to 25-30, and are four games back from the Dallas Mavericks in the six seed.

Thomas makes history as Booker returns for Phoenix

Brooklyn Nets rising star Cam Thomas became the youngest player to ever score 40 points in three consecutive games, but Devin Booker's return lifted the Phoenix Suns to a 116-112 win.

After scoring a career-high 44 points against the Washington Wizards on Saturday, and then following it with another career-high of 47 against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday, Thomas dropped 43 against the Suns.

He shot 11-of-23 from the field – his worst shooting performance in this three-game run – but boosted his tally by going 18-of-20 from the free throw line.

But the return of Devin Booker after 21 games and six weeks on the sideline provided a jolt in the arm for the Suns, contributing 19 points on six-of-15 shooting with six assists in 26 minutes, while Deandre Ayton dominated the action with 35 points (14-of-18) and 15 rebounds.

Another Jokic masterclass blows away the Timberwolves

Reigning back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic showed exactly why he is the favourite to make it a three-peat with a dominant performance in the Denver Nuggets' 146-112 blowout of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Jokic had 17 points on eight-of-10 shooting with 10 rebounds and 10 assists by half-time, and he did not attempt a field goal in the second half, finishing with 20 points, 16 assists and 12 rebounds.

He has a chance to become the first center in NBA history to average a triple-double if he can maintain his current figures of 24.7 points, 11.3 rebounds and 10.2 assists, while Michael Porter Jr carried the scoring load against Minnesota, pouring in 30 on 11-of-15 shooting.

LeBron James admitted after breaking the all-time regular season scoring record on Tuesday that he feels he is the greatest player in NBA history.

James needed 36 points to break the record against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and he reached that figure in the final seconds of the third quarter, drilling a free throw line fadeaway to eclipse Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's mark of 38,387.

The Lakers ultimately went down 133-130 to the visiting Thunder, although it was no fault of James, who scored a game-high 38 points on 13-of-20 shooting with three steals, and the Lakers were plus eight in his 34 minutes of action.

After the contest, James was asked a couple of questions from fellow legendary Laker Shaquille O'Neal, with the last being about who he feels is the greatest player in the history of the league.

"I'm gonna let everybody else decide who that is, or talk about it, but it's great barbershop talk," James said, before O'Neal cut him off and demanded a straight answer.

"Me personally, I'm going to take myself against anybody who has ever played this game," he said. 

"But everyone is going to have their favourite, and everyone is going to decide who their favourite is, but I know what I've brought to the table, I know what I bring to the table every single night, and what I can do out on this floor.

"I always feel like I'm the best to ever play this game, but there's so many other great ones that I'm happy to just be a part of their journey."

O'Neal also asked if James believes he can go on and continue to add to the record for years to come, and interestingly, James left the door open to perhaps playing for a different franchise before he hangs up his boots.

"For sure, I know I can play a couple more years," he said. "The way I'm feeling, the way my body has been reacting to me through the course of this season, I know I can play a couple more years.

"It's all about my mind. If my mind is still into it, if I'm still motivated to go out and try to compete for championships, because I feel like that's what I can still do.

"For any group of guys, for any franchise, I can go out there and still help win multiple championships, or win a championship.

"That's my mindset, but it's all about the mind. If my mind is sharp, and I feel motivated to go out and prepare myself every single day, then I can continue to play this game."

LeBron James gave an emotional speech after surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the all-time regular season scoring record on Tuesday, thanking those who helped him along the way.

James came into the contest against the Oklahoma City Thunder trailing by 35 points, and he needed only three quarters to get there, nailing a fadeaway jump shot late in the third period to bring up 36 points on 12-of-18 shooting.

That basket gave him his 38,388th regular season point, while he is already 1,644 points clear of Michael Jordan for the most points in playoff history.

During a lengthy delay after James broke the record, where Abdul-Jabbar came onto the court for a symbolic passing of the torch, James reflected on the journey to this moment.

"I just want to say thank you to the Lakers faithful, you guys are one-of-a-kind," he said.

"To be able to be in the presence of such a legend as great as Kareem means so much to me, it's very humbling – please give a standing ovation to 'The Captain' please.

"To my beautiful wife, my daughter, my two boys, my friends, my boys, my family, my mother – man, everyone who has ever been a part of this run with me the past 20 years.

"I just want to say I thank you so much, because I wouldn't be me without y'all. All y'all help, all y'all passion, all y'all sacrifices helped me get to this point. 

"To the NBA, to Adam Silver, to the late great David Stern, thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of something I've always dreamed about. 

"I would have never, ever, in a million years have dreamt this even better than it is tonight… thank you guys."

Debates around the greatest of all time in sport can often be as polarising as any other.

Now that LeBron James has surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to stand at the top of the NBA's all-time leading scoring chart though, it seems appropriate to review the case for the 38-year-old to be considered the greatest basketball player of all time.

In what has without question been at least one of the best careers ever seen, James has four NBA championships to his name, as well as four Finals MVPs, four NBA MVPs, 19 All-Star selections and three All-Star MVPs. His 13 All-NBA First Team selections are two more than anybody else.

Enough to make any doubter's eyes water.

Added to that, after overtaking Kareem on Tuesday, he not only stands alone atop the all-time scoring list, but has a real opportunity to pull away and perhaps even go past 40,000 before hanging up his sneakers. He has long been the playoff scoring king, with his 7,631 playoff points already 1,644 clear of second-placed Michael Jordan.

It isn't just racking up the points, he has also passed on his fair share of assists, recently pushing past Steve Nash on that all-time leaderboard, with James now fourth for NBA assists.

As the first pick of the 2003 NBA Draft, it was hardly surprising that James impressed from the start with the Cleveland Cavaliers, averaging 20.9 points per game (PPG) in his debut season from 79 games.

It was the 2005-06 season where he really exploded, though, averaging 31.4 PPG in the regular season, which remains his highest ever for a campaign, before recording 30.8 PPG in the playoffs, where the Cavs were eliminated in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals by the Detroit Pistons.

James took Cleveland to the postseason for five straight campaigns, agonisingly losing the 2007 Finals to the San Antonio Spurs, before taking the mantel again in 2009 as he put up 35.3 PPG in 14 playoff outings before more Conference final heartbreak against the Orlando Magic.

The television event titled 'The Decision' was controversial, though undoubtedly captivating as James dramatically revealed he was leaving the Cavs for the Miami Heat in 2010.

However, it turned out to be the catalyst for him to reach the next step as he was immediately surrounded by more talent in Miami, and before long, much-deserved silverware.

Linking up superbly with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, James reached the Finals every year in Florida, winning his first championship in 2012, before following it up in 2013 with another.

His numbers were slightly lower at the Heat than they had been in Cleveland, though that perhaps owed to the fact that when deciding to join Miami, he was joining forces with arguably the league's second-best player at the time in Wade.

James' first title win in 2012 saw him average 30.3 PPG during the postseason, and led the way as he got some revenge on the Spurs in 2013, excelling in Game 7 to win his second championship.

In 2014, James came back to Cleveland with the Ohio-born star's desire to take his team to the promised land for the first time, and he did just that.

Just as he had in Miami, James went to the Finals every year of his second spell with the Cavaliers – resulting in eight consecutive Finals appearances – and every year they played against the dominant Golden State Warriors.

After losing 4-2 in 2015, they returned to get revenge in 2016 as James starred on their way to an almost Hollywood-ending win against the Warriors, securing their first NBA championship after coming back from a 3-1 deficit against a team that set the record for the best regular season ever at 73-9.

They were unable to repeat the trick as the Warriors, with the addition of Kevin Durant, beat them in both the 2017 and 2018 Finals, but reaching four Finals in a row was still more than Cavs fans could have realistically expected.

Unfortunately for them, James was getting itchy feet again.

James had a solid enough start to life in Los Angeles, posting 27.4 PPG for the Lakers in 2018-19, though injury issues sustained by him and several of his new team-mates led to a wobbly season, and therefore, no postseason for the first time for James since 2005.

Inevitably, he came roaring back the following year and in spite of the chaos caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, James and the Lakers returned to win the "bubble championship", the fourth title of his career with a third different team. In doing so, he became the only player in NBA history to win Finals MVP with three franchises.

However, the 2020-21 campaign was one to forget as James recorded his lowest PPG for a season (25.0) since his rookie year, before the Lakers were dumped out of the playoffs in the first round by the Phoenix Suns.

Was it all over for LeBron? Not likely. He responded to that setback by scoring 1,695 points in just 56 games last season at an average of 30.3 PPG, his best regular season return since 2005-06.

James also reached a notable landmark last March, becoming the first player in NBA history to record 10,000 assists and 10,000 rebounds in a career.

Unfortunately for him, his team-mates were unable to match those efforts and the Lakers again failed to even make the playoffs, which could be why they were so desperate to find the funds to tie James' immediate future down as he was given a bumper contract to make him the highest-paid player in the league.

LeBron has thrived again this season, averaging 30.0 PPG from 43 appearances as he tries to drag the Lakers back to the playoffs.

Arguments can of course be made for the player with the most NBA titles Bill Russell, or the man whose name is synonymous with so many NBA records Wilt Chamberlain, while Lakers legends Abdul-Jabbar and Kobe Bryant have to be in the conversation also.

However, ask most people who they believe to be the greatest of all time and you wil have to go a long way to find someone who doesn't immediately blurt out the name of Michael Jordan.

The Chicago Bulls icon was a five-time NBA MVP, six-time NBA champion, six-time NBA Finals MVP, 10-time All-NBA First Teamer, 14-time NBA All-Star; won 10 scoring titles and retired with the NBA's highest scoring average of 30.1 PPG.

 

Jordan was a force of nature who always seemed to raise his game beyond others exactly when his team needed it, while James has experienced more disappointment in clutch scenarios.

He has also taken his team with him to ultimate success more than once, and arguably teams that had more limitations than Jordan's best times at the Bulls.

When you consider that Jordan is also in the argument for the greatest sportsman of all time, it is testament to James that he's even in the conversation.

"It's not heavy. I'm not going anywhere. I'm going to be in this league for at least a few more years," James recently said as he closed in on Kareem's record.

Which is ominous for the rest of the league, quite frankly.

Is he the greatest of all time? As with most discussions on the topic, it probably doesn't matter.

James has scored more points than anyone else to ever compete in the NBA, and that is undisputed.

LeBron James has passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the NBA's all-time leading points scorer in the regular season.

James reached the landmark on Tuesday in the Los Angeles Lakers' game against Oklahoma City Thunder, clinching the historic points with a fadeaway jump shot late in the third quarter. He reached the end of the third period with 36 points on 12-of-18 shooting with five rebounds and three steals.

It is the latest in a long line of achievements in the game for James, who also played for the Cleveland Cavaliers (twice) and the Miami Heat before moving to Los Angeles in 2018.

The 38-year-old recently became the fourth-highest assist maker in NBA history, and he already owned the overall combined points record including playoffs, with his 7,631 playoff points 1,644 clear of second-placed Michael Jordan.

Abdul-Jabbar retired in 1989 as the league's all-time leading scorer having registered 38,387 points during a storied career with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Lakers.

He claimed top spot in April 1984 when he surpassed the previous record of the great Wilt Chamberlain.

James now heads that list and could pull away to give himself a considerable lead as he has given little indication of an imminent retirement, instead stating his wish to one day play alongside his oldest son Bronny.

LeBron James shared on Monday that he is disappointed the Los Angeles Lakers were unable to secure his former team-mate Kyrie Irving in a trade.

The duo of James and Irving famously became the only team to ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals, conquering the record-setting 73-9 Golden State Warriors for the 2016 championship.

Their history and chemistry meant that when Irving demanded a trade from the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, James believed it was exactly the opportunity his team had been waiting for, but they were beaten to the punch by the Dallas Mavericks.

According to Shams Charania from The Athletic, the Lakers proposed a deal sending Russell Westbrook and their two remaining first-round picks – in 2027 and 2029 – to the Nets, but with championship aspirations of their own, the Nets would not budge unless promising youngsters Max Christie and Austin Reaves were both also included.

It is believed that is where the Lakers drew the line, although further reporting from Marc Stein claims Nets owner Joe Tsai was never going to send Irving to Los Angeles, because he believed that is where he was trying to force his way to.

Speaking to ESPN's Michael Wilbon, James laid out why he felt Irving was a good fit on this Lakers team, but said he has already moved on.

"I can't sit here and say I'm not disappointed on not being able to land such a talent," he said. "Someone that I had great chemistry with, and know I got great chemistry with on the floor, that can help you win championships, in my mind, in my eyes.

"But my focus is shifted now. My focus is shifted back to where it should be and that's this club now and what we have in the locker room. It's a quick pivot. It don't take me long. I don't get too excited about the possibilities of things that can be. 

"I kind of envision myself on what it can, but I don't invest it all the way into it until I know it's happening, and when it does not happen, I'm back locked in on the job at hand.

"So we had an opportunity, our names were out there, the Lakers name was out there. We had an opportunity, it didn't happen. 

"We move on and we finish this season strong, try to get a bid into the postseason, where I feel if we go in healthy, we can compete with anybody."

James acknowledged that the Lakers' struggles – currently sitting 13th out of 15 Western Conference teams – have had an effect on him, but he is determined to right the ship.

"Well, I mean for me it is challenging, but I'm 10 toes down," he said. "I understand that once I show up to work, or once I show up to the job description – and that's being a leader of the ballclub every single day – there's no [question for] me on what my mindset is.

"My mindset is how we can be great today and how we can maximise today for either the next game, for the next road trip, for next film session, for the next practice, for the next bus ride, plane ride.

"I have that mentality of if we can maximise today, then it makes the next challenge that much more easy for us."

It is no secret for Westbrook that he is at the centre of these trade rumours for the Lakers as they try to ship him elsewhere, but head coach Darvin Ham said he has been nothing but professional.

"He's showing up, doing his job, being a professional – and that's all you can do for any of us," he said.

"This is an unforgiving business... dealing with rumours, different things happening. All you can do is put your head down and do your work and try to remain as professional as possible, and he's done that."

Irving – who will make his debut for the Mavericks on Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers – also received a $2million bonus due to the trade kicker clause in his contract.

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