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67th NBA All-Star Game: Team LeBron Vs. Team Stephen

Kevin Mazur


LeBron James passed Wilt Chamberlain — another all-time great who joined the Los Angeles Lakers in the latter stages of his career — for fifth place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list Wednesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers.

James tied Chamberlain on an and-1 runner with 3:55 left in the fourth quarter and passed him on the ensuing free throw. James finished the game with 44 points — his first 40-point game of the season and the most by a Laker since Kobe Bryant scored 60 in his career finale — and he now has 31,425 points for his career. James added 10 rebounds and 9 assists in Los Angeles’ 126-117 win at Staples Center.

“When I’m able to do what I love to do, and do it at this level — and even being mentioned with the greats that have ever played this game — it just always brings me back to my hometown of Akron, [Ohio],” James told ESPN’s Dave Pasch on the telecast after the game. “And knowing where I come from, knowing how hard it was to get to this point — it’s just never being in satisfied mode. I give it all to the man above for giving me God-given abilities. I’m taking full advantage of ’em. And then my coaching staff and my teammates throughout these 16 years so far, have gotten me to this point.”

James said the ball and his jersey from the game would be sent to his I Promise School in Akron for display.

James put Chamberlain in the same category as Shaquille O’Neal — the No. 8 all-time scorer — as a phenomenon to be reckoned with.

“One of the most dominant forces we ever had in our game along with Shaq,” James said. “One of the greatest Lakers ever to play the game. One-hundred-point scorer. One of the greatest scorers, rebounders to ever played this game. Multisport, [multi]dimensional type of athlete. People had never seen something like that in that era. So, just dominated in all walks of life. Not only just basketball, but just period.”

Next up on the career scoring list is James’ childhood hero, Michael Jordan, in fourth place with 32,292 points. If James maintains his season scoring average of 26.4 points and doesn’t miss any games because of rest or injury, he should pass Jordan in late January.

Other than Jordan, the names ahead of James on the list have ties to the purple and gold. The top three scorers in league history all played for the Lakers at some point in their careers. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points) is first, Karl Malone (36,928 points) is second and Bryant (33,643 points) is third. Including Chamberlain and James, five of the top six scorers in NBA history played for the Lakers at some point.

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