- LeBron James has passed Michael Jordan on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
- James accomplished the feat Wednesday night against the Denver Nuggets on an and-one layup and later grew emotional on the bench over moving into fourth on the all-time scoring list.
- After the game, James gave a passionate explanation of how Jordan was an idol to him growing up in poverty and how he inspired James to make it to the NBA.
LeBron James accomplished a major feat Wednesday, passing Michael Jordan on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
James entered the game needing 13 points to pass Jordan. He achieved the feat with 5:38 left in the second quarter against the Denver Nuggets when he drove to the basket and got fouled for the and-one opportunity. He finished the game with 31 points, as the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Nuggets, 115-99.
James now has 32,311 career points. He trails Kobe Bryant for third on the all-time scoring list by a little more than 1,300 points, or about 50 games at his current pace.
After Wednesday night’s game, when James was asked about what the accomplishment meant, he shook his head for several seconds before explaining why he considered it one of his greatest accomplishments.
“This ranks right up there at the top with winning a championship,” James said.
“For a kid from Akron, Ohio, that needed inspiration and needed some type of positive influence, MJ was that guy for me. I watched him from afar, wanted to be like MJ, wanted to shoot fadeaways like MJ, wanted to stick my tongue out on dunks like MJ, wanted to wear my sneakers like MJ. I wanted kids to look up to me at some point like MJ. It’s crazy, to be honest. It’s beyond crazy.”
It was fait accompli that James would pass Jordan on the night – he hasn’t scored fewer than 13 points in a game all season. He tweeted before the game about the accomplishment.
Can’t even front. This is going to be UNREAL!! Wow man
— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 7, 2019
“Me and my best friends, this was all we talked about was MJ,” James said. “All we talked about is MJ. Outdoor courts, we used to play outdoor ball, in the snow, in the rain in northeast Ohio, and we all wanted to be MJ.
“It’s crazy, like, my high-school best friends, they texted me and they just can’t believe it – I can’t believe it because we just remember walking up and down the Akron streets with a basketball, just singing, ‘I wanna be, I wanna be like Mike.'”
James said he was nervous at the start of the game and wasn’t sure how he would get the baskets needed to pass Jordan. He began the game 0-for-4. He said he told teammates that if he were stuck on 12 points, he would want to get his next basket on either a fadeaway jumper or a dunk with his tongue sticking out.
James also reflected on his humble beginnings, namely growing up in Akron as a single child with a single mother. James has frequently mentioned that the odds are stacked against people from his neighbourhood.
“When you’re an inner-city kid from Akron, Ohio, like myself and my guys growing up, you’re just, you look for anything, any lightning in a bottle that can inspire you,” he said. “Because you’re just always put up against the numbers of failing. The percentages of guys like myself, single-parent household, only childhood, underprivileged, making it out is, it’s not high at all.
“And MJ had a lot to do with making it out, along with my mother, along with the city itself, along with the little-league coaches I had. But Mike had no idea what he was doing for a kid that was growing up 45-minutes flight away from Chicago when he was putting in that work.”
- Read more:
- Peek inside Michael Jordan’s houses, cars, and travels and see what $US1.9 billion buys
- What the NBA’s biggest stars looked like when their careers started
- The Lakers built a bizarre team around LeBron James and now it is coming back to haunt them
- The top 30 prospects in the 2019 NBA Draft
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.