It’s a fair, albeit basic assessment to associate the player who scores the most points to that sport’s best player. Soccer had Ronaldo. Football had Brady. Hockey had Gretsky. Now implications aside, we have LeBron. Because today marks one of the most historical milestones in history, LeBron James officially scoring more points than any other player ever. He notched the legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar of the mantle with a record tally of 44,150.
Nerdy Writer: LeBron James is really great!
Anyone who knows what a basketball is: Wow! Really? You don’t say, doofus…
Nerdy Writer: But like… really great!
A few weeks back, the headline read, ‘LeBron James ties Kobe Bryant in games played,’ this week it’s this, and next week he will become the first player to have 30K points, 10K rebounds, and 10K assists. Well, in however long it takes LeBron James to reach 52 more assists. Does historic excellence start getting fatiguing after a little while? You betcha. Except in this case - the rankings will stand the test time of time.
Most Points in Regular Season and Playoffs combined.
1. LeBron James: 44,150
2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar:44,149
3. Karl Malone: 41,689
4. Kobe Bryant: 39,283
5. Michael Jordan: 38,297
6. Dirk Nowitzki: 35,223
7. Wilt Chamberlain: 35,026
8. Shaquille O’Neal: 33,846
9. Tim Duncan: 31,668
10. Hakeem Olajuwon: 30,701
There you have it, the breadcrumbs of LeBron’s greatness. Who says you need to interpret or conceptualize the facts for them to be fun?
Screw this, we need implications!
This will be the best metric to point to when discussing LeBron’s longevity, so therefore it might be his best milestone yet. Because when it’s all said and done, it is not just going to be LeBron’s accomplishments on every media panel the way it is for when Brady retires; it’s going to be Michael’s as well.
Like test monkeys in an experiment, their awards, rankings, and stats will be simplified to numbers on a graphic, and we can only thank the current media landscape for that. They're the ones who push players against one other to establish the highest pedestal. They’re the ones who reflect on achievements like this by following the next sentence with ‘MJ.’ They’re the ones… actually, who am I kidding? Us fans do it just as much.
But why wouldn’t we?
Enjoy the debates
Placing players in hierarchies is an excellent way of valuing achievement through eras. Sure, it might diminish and take away some of the significance from unprecedented achievements, like this very one, when we conclude that despite a player's success, one player was still greater than the other. And nowhere is this more tragic than when comparing the best of the best. But why should coming off second best be an insult? We will always appreciate LeBron and Jordan despite which GOAT camp we reside and, regardless of how we bring up that conversation.
‘Sure, LeBron went to 10 NBA Finals but he lost 6 of them’ or ‘Sure, Michael won 6 NBA Finals but he never went to 10’ are common phrases of the NBA community. But we speak this way not out of hate but admiration and passion. Today is one of those days where the Bron vs. MJ threads will blow up, and that’s okay! Enjoy the debate while consecutively enjoying the achievement of scoring more points than any other human being ever in professional basketball.