On February 7, 2023, LeBron James broke a record that seemed to be impossible to break. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar held the regular season scoring record for nearly 39 years, scoring 38,387 points over his hall of fame career. But now, LeBron sits at the top.
Many people believe that this record will never be broken. However, people didn’t think Kareem’s record would ever be broken either, and here we are. After all, the game is evolving as time goes on, which I think will allow for more players to enter the conversation in respect to the all-time scoring record.
The NBA Now vs. Then
When LeBron entered the NBA in the 2003-2004 campaign, the league leader in scoring at the time averaged 28 points per game. This season, nine current players are averaging this number or better. There are a multitude of reasons why this is the case.
For one, the pace of play is faster now. This allows for more shots in a game, especially for the star players. Another reason being the spike of three point attempts. As a big man, Kareem only attempted 18 three pointers in his entire career, and only made one.
Nowadays, pretty much anyone in the Association is capable of making a three pointer, which is a huge difference compared to back then. Scoring in bunches is very common in today’s era of NBA, and I think that this recipe for scoring gives several players the opportunity to realistically chase LeBron’s scoring record.
Who Could Break Lebron’s Record?
The first player that came to mind for me was Luka Doncic. Luka has become a superstar in the NBA just shortly after being drafted 3rd overall in the 2018 Draft. In his career thus far, he has scored a total of 8,591 points averaging 27.4 points per game.
Luka’s unique slower-tempo style of play creates matchup nightmares for his opponents. His versatile ways of scoring inside and out help him get open looks every single game. I see Luka’s career being a long and decorated one, and I give him a great chance of breaking Lebron’ regular season scoring record by the end of his career.
The next player I see with a chance to chase Lebron’s record is Jayson Tatum. The 24 year old former Duke Blue Devil is currently in his sixth year playing in the NBA. He has racked up 9,287 points so far in his career.
Jayson’s length gives him the ability to score at will, as he has averaged around 26 points per game since entering the NBA. If he were to keep these numbers up for another 14 years or so, he would give himself a chance to dethrone The King.
I see these two young stars to have the best shot to chase Lebron in this generation. However, that doesn’t mean nobody else has a shot. After all, NBA players are the best basketball players around the world.
Too Hard to Tell?
With how the NBA is today, such a feat like this one may be too hard to predict. Nobody predicted LeBron or anyone for that matter to break Kareem’s regular season scoring record. With so many things to consider, longevity and injuries to name a few, nobody can say for certain who will break the record if anyone would.
With that being said, I do however see this record being broken at some point in the future. The way the NBA has changed to a scorers league for the most part, points are easy to come by for the star players.
I still do feel it is appropriate to acknowledge what a tremendous accomplishment it is for LeBron James to now be the NBA’s all time leading scorer. LeBron has changed the game of basketball forever, and has inspired so many young players succeeding him. The legacy of the King will live forever.