LeBron James is on the verge of making history. Yes, that’s a sentence that gets used often but that’s just what happens when discussing one of the greatest players in NBA history.
Over the course of 17 seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, and Los Angeles Lakers, the three-time NBA champ has obviously scored a lot of points, both in the regular season and the playoffs. He currently sits in third place on the NBA’s all-time regular-season scoring list and has scored more postseason points than any player in history.
So what happens if you combine the two? Currently, the top five on a combined list looks exactly like the top five on the regular-season scoring list. But LeBron James could change that before the 2020 NBA Finals come to a close.
LeBron James is currently in third place on the NBA’s all-time regular-season scoring list
On January 25, 2020, eerily the night before Kobe Bryant tragically passed away, LeBron James passed the “Black Mamba” for third place on the NBA’s career regular-season scoring list by scoring his 33,644th point. James scored 597 more points for the Lakers in leading the Lakers to their first postseason berth in seven years and finished the 2019-2020 campaign with 34,241 regular-season points. Here’s a look at the top five on the all-time regular-season scoring list.
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 38,387
- Karl Malone: 36,928
- LeBron James: 34,241
- Kobe Bryant: 33,643
- Michael Jordan: 32,292
He’s scored the most points in NBA postseason history
On May 25, 2017, during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, LeBron James, then with the Cavs, passed Michael Jordan to become the NBA’s all-time leader in postseason points scored. Jordan’s record of 5,987 points had stood for nearly two decades before James’ 3-pointer in the third quarter gave him 5,989. Since that bucket, including the 25 points he scored on Wednesday night in Game 1 of the 2020 NBA Finals, LeBron has scored an additional 1,348 postseason points to give him 7,337 for his career. Here’s the top five in postseason scoring.
- LeBron James: 7,337
- Michael Jordan: 5,987
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 5,762
- Kobe Bryant: 5,640
- Shaquille O’Neal: 5,250
Combining the regular season and postseason, LeBron James will soon pass Karl Malone for the second-most points in NBA history
Following Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Lakers and Heat, here’s what the NBA’s all-time scoring list looks like combining the regular season and the postseason. As mentioned, the order currently looks exactly like the regular-season scoring list.
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 44,149
- Karl Malone: 41,689
- LeBron James: 41,578
- Kobe Bryant: 39,283
- Michael Jordan: 38,279
But as you can see, LeBron James is creeping up on Karl Malone for second place on the NBA’s true all-time scoring list. James needs just 111 more points in the Finals to catch “The Mailman” and could likely get there if the series goes five, six, or seven games. However, given what the Lakers did to the Heat on Wednesday night, LeBron may just have to wait until the start of next season. We’ll just have to see how the rest of this series plays out.
All stats courtesy of Basketball Reference