It was on October 29, 2003 when LeBron James played his first game in the NBA. The Cleveland Cavaliers fell to the Sacramento Kings and James scored 25 points.
That night there were 2,708 names above him on the list of all-time leading scorers in the NBA.
Only one person remains above James on the all-time list: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who has been the leading scorer since April 5, 1984. His reign is ending and the crown will pass to another Los Angeles Lakers player. in 1,326 units.
“To sit here knowing that I’m about to break one of the most sought-after records in the NBA and that people said it could never be done, I think it’s amazing, really rewarding for me,” James said. “I think it’s amazing.”
The current score is: Abdul-Jabbar 38,387, James 37,062. At James’ pace of 27.1 points per game, he is 49 games away from becoming No. 1.
If no duels are lost, he could reach the goal in mid-January. He will become the most prolific scorer being one of the best passers in the NBA: James ranks seventh in assists and could finish the season in fourth place.
“One of the things that’s amazing about LeBron is that he’s a talented, enthusiastic passer,” said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra, who coached James to four seasons (2010-14) and two championships.
Abdul-Jabbar’s hook shot took the NBA by storm from the start. He averaged 30.4 points per game in his first six seasons and 24.6 points in his entire career, although he managed only 14.1 points per game in his last three seasons.
James has not suffered a fall. He is averaging 25 points per game in his last 18 seasons. Before last season, only one player — Kobe Bryant, who had 22.3 points in 2014-15 — averaged more than 19 points in his 19th season. James averaged just over 30.
I mean, no player has been this good for this long in the NBA.
“It’s always gratifying to know that the work you do is paying off,” James said. “I’ve never been a person to cheat at the game. I’ve always put work into it.”
The star acknowledged for a few years that he could see himself reaching Abdul-Jabbar, although he insisted that this was not his priority.
The Lakers, who won the NBA title two years ago, were a disaster last season and missed the playoffs. James’ goal is to fight for a championship again, which would be his fifth.
His work ethic continues to amaze those around him.
“LeBron is not from this planet,” said Darvin Ham, who is set to coach his first season with the Lakers, “That’s for sure.”
James and Abdul-Jabbar have had a challenging relationship.
Abdul-Jabbar was standing in front of the Cleveland locker room during the 2016 Eastern Conference finals, and James jogged past. He stopped and they both hugged each other, sharing a few polite words.
That night, James spoke of the respect he felt for Abdul-Jabbar and others who had come before him.
Other chapters have not been so kind. Abdul-Jabbar has leveled some criticism at James, though he said earlier this year that he has “deep admiration and respect for LeBron as a community leader and athlete.”
“That hasn’t changed and it won’t change,” he said.
Recently, James said that he had no relationship with Abdul-Jabbar.
“Obviously Kareem has had his differences with some of my views and some of the things I do,” James said. “But listen, in the end, being able to share the same space with a guy who wore this same uniform, who is an emblem of this franchise … and who does a lot off the court as well, is a tremendous thing.”
They will be linked throughout the campaign, at least until the record drops. And that may serve as a reminder to some young fans about how Abdul-Jabbar played.
James is about to become the new scoring king and if he doesn’t get injured he could extend his record for years to come.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.