Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James earned a career milestone for the ages last night when he passed his idol, Michael Jordan, on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
James only needed 13 points to pass Jordan heading into Wednesday night’s game against the Denver Nuggets, and wore a special pair of Nike LeBron 16s for the occasion. The sneakers were emblazoned with the words, “Thank you M.J. 23” written on the side. James also called the forthcoming feat “unreal” in a post on social media.
“Of all the stuff I’ve done in my career, this ranks right up there at the top with winning a championship,” James said before the game, according to ESPN. “For a kid from Akron, Ohio, that needed inspiration and needed some type of positive influence, MJ was that guy for me.”
“I watched him from afar, wanted to be like MJ, wanted to shoot fadeaways like MJ, wanted to stick my tongue out on dunks like MJ, wanted to wear my sneakers like MJ. I wanted kids to look up to me at some point like MJ and it’s just crazy, to be honest,” he continued. “It’s beyond crazy.”
With a free throw during the second quarter, James scored the 32,293rd point of his career, moving him in place only behind Kobe Bryant (33,643 points), Karl Malone (36,928 points) and Kareen Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points) as the most prolific scorers in league history.
Then, during a timeout a few moments later, the Lakers played a video in tribute to the 34-year-old. The crowd at Staples Center gave the athlete a standing ovation. He sunk his face into a towel during the moment in response.
“It was very emotional,” he said. “Very emotional. A lot of things that was going on inside of me at that point in time. I wanted to look up at the scoreboard to kind of see what was going on up there, but at the same time I didn’t want to show what was going on behind that towel, so it’s just crazy.”
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Rapper 2 Chainz, who was sitting courtside, was seen removing one of his gold necklaces and gifting it to James after the feat.
But the Nuggets would spoil James’ night by handing them their 35th loss on the year. The Lakers season — which is James’ first since joining the franchise last year after leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers — has been marred with numerous losses that have all but ensured that the three-time NBA Champion will miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2004-05 season, his second in the league.
James’ streak of appearing in eight straight NBA Finals will also be coming to an end, barring an absolute miracle.
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