With Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant firmly in the rearview mirror, LeBron James now inches ever closer to overtaking Karl Malone — and, possibly, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
The climb continued on as James joined Abdul-Jabbar and Malone as the only players to surpass 35,000 career points. He reached the milestone in the manner that has defined much of his career, bulling his way to the paint and earning free throws after the defense tried in vain to stop him in the first half.
Like Abdul-Jabbar and Malone, James’ outstanding durability and longevity have seen him produce at a historically consistent pace. Now in his 18th season, the Lakers superstar is on pace to average at least 25 points per game for the 17th consecutive year, the only exception being his rookie campaign in Cleveland. James would need roughly 134 more regular season games at that clip to catch Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), and more if his average declines.
James’ entrance into the 35,000-point club came on the same night he was named a starter for his 17th NBA All-Star appearance, trailing only Abdul-Jabbar (19) and Bryant (18) in that honor.