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LeBron James passes Kobe Bryant for 3rd place on NBA’s career scoring list

LeBron James passes Kobe Bryant for 3rd place on NBA’s career scoring list

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James goes up for the shot during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James goes to the basket during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

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  • Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, center right, goes up for the shot with Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris, right, and Shake Milton, center left, defending during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James, left, passes the ball with Philadelphia 76ers’ Matisse Thybulle, right, defending during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James, left, tries to make his move on Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

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PHILADELPHIA — Since coming to Los Angeles, it’s been inevitable that LeBron James would be measured against Kobe Bryant – the Lakers’ last great superstar. In at least one way, he’s finally surpassed him.

On Saturday night, on a driving lay-up with 7:22 left in the third quarter of the Lakers’ game against the 76ers, James passed Bryant to become the third-leading scorer in NBA history.

James had at least one public tribute to Bryant written on his black shoes in gold marker: “Mamba 4 Life“. It also was inscribed with 8 and 24 — both of Bryant’s jersey numbers for the Lakers.

The 76ers took a timeout to stop the game and acknowledge the milestone. After slapping the hands of his teammates in celebration, James stood up from the bench, turned to face the crowd and waved.

In just 1,241 career games over 17 seasons, the 35-year-old James has averaged 27.1 points to top Bryant, who achieved his 33,643 points in 1,346 games over 20 seasons. Bryant attempted 26,200 shots in his career. James has attempted 24,366.

The biggest difference between Bryant and James: Kobe scored all of his points as a Laker. Since joining the franchise in 2018, James has scored 2,6 points for a 26.4 average.

Bryant was drafted in 1996 and, after averaging just 7.6 points in 15.5 minutes per game as a rookie, blossomed into a star for the Lakers soon after – an example James said he followed as a high schooler in Ohio.

“He helped me before he even knew of me because of what he was able to do,” he said. “So, just to be able to, at this point of my career, to share the same jersey that he wore, be with this historical franchise and just represent the purple and gold, it’s very humbling and it’s dope. Kobe’s a legend, that’s for damn sure.”

James is still chasing players with Laker ties on the all-time scoring list. No. 2 ahead of James is longtime Utah Jazz forward Karl Malone (36,928), who played the last of his 19 seasons as a Laker in 2003-04. The leading scorer of all-time is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), who played 14 of his 20 NBA seasons with the Lakers and won five of his six championships with them, retiring in 1989 at the age of 41.

James has said he’s interested in testing his longevity, possibly trying to play in the NBA alongside his son Bronny James, who is currently a freshman in high school. But it would still take James 2½ more seasons to pass Abdul-Jabbar at his scoring average (25.1 ppg) this season, which is likely to decline as he gets older.


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