Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

LeBron James Becomes All-Time Regular Season Scoring Leader

On Tuesday night, Lakers forward LeBron James achieved a feat many of us had once thought impossible. The 19-time All-Star surpassed Hall of Fame center and Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar‘s all-time regular season scoring record of 38,387 career points.

With 10 seconds left in the third quarter of a nationally televised game against the visiting Thunder on Tuesday night, James scored his 35th and 36th points, which moved him into sole possession of the league’s scoring record (video link via Bleacher Report).

Play was stopped for a special mid-game presentation, as Abdul-Jabbar and NBA commissioner Adam Silver were on hand to congratulate the four-time champion and four-time MVP.

James actually passed Abdul-Jabbar in historic cumulative scoring last year, lapping the six-time MVP’s total combined regular season and postseason points.

Now, LeBron possesses both that record and this regular season mark. He looks poised to significantly widen his lead in both categories, given that he’s averaging an impressive 30.2 PPG this season and recently expressed a desire to play for a few more years.

Presumably, the four-time MVP’s next goal is simply making the 2022/23 postseason, which is no sure thing. L.A. is currently the No. 13 seed in a bunched-up West, behind Oklahoma City.

More Reaction To Bill Russell’s Passing

How can the NBA celebrate the legacy of Bill Russell? By retiring his iconic No. 6 jersey league-wide, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times opines.

Russell passed away at the age of 88 over the weekend.

That would be an appropriate tribute to Russell, who like Jackie Robinson excelled in his sport while fighting against prejudice and bigotry. The league could let players who currently wear Russell’s number finish out their careers with that uniform, Woike adds, but otherwise the number should be retired as a show of respect for Russell’s contributions to the game and society.

Here’s more reaction to the passing of Russell:

  • Another of the league’s all-time greats, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, reflected on his 60-year relationship with Russell in a Substack post, detailing why he considers Russell “my friend, my mentor, my role model.”
  • The Athletic’s Steve Buckley explores Russell’s tumultuous relationship with the city of Boston and how he eventually softened his stance on returning to the city in his later years.
  • Despite the fact that many of the Celtics’ championships with Russell came at the expense of the Lakers, he was beloved in the city of Los Angeles, as Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register details.
  • Former Celtics player and executive Danny Ainge said many former Boston players often spoke of Russell’s impact on their lives, Sarah Todd of the Deseret News writes. “I had an opportunity to sit and talk for hours with many Celtic legends over the years: John Havlicek, KC Jones, Sam Jones, Tommy Heinsohn, Jo Jo White, Red Auerbach and many others,” Ainge said. “Their stories would often lead to conversations about the great Bill Russell. The influence he had on those he was so close with is impressive, but the impact he had on so many people everywhere is legendary.”
  • Statistical analysis of Russell’s career cannot possibly compute his impact on the games he played and championships he won, Santul Nerkar and Neil Paine of FiveThirtyEight.com argue.
  • With current players taking stances on social issues, Russell’s legacy of fighting injustice will continue to be felt for many more years, Logan Murdock of The Ringer notes.

Carmelo Anthony Wins Inaugural Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Award

Blazers‘ forward Carmelo Anthony has won the first ever Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Anthony was chosen by a selection committee composed of notable social justice leaders such as Abdul-Jabbar, Director of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport Dr. Richard Lapchick, student activist Teyonna Lofton, National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial, UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía, Rise Founder and CEO Amanda Nguyen, and NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum.

Fellow finalists were Harrison Barnes of the KingsSixers forward Tobias Harris, Jrue Holiday of the Bucks and Juan Toscano-Anderson of the Warriors, writes Alex Kennedy of BasketballNews.com.

Every finalist receives a $25,000 contribution to a social justice organization of their choice, and Anthony will receive a $100,000 contribution to his choice of organization.

Anthony’s contributions as a social justice champion include working on issues of systemic racism, police brutality, and criminal justice reform.  He launched the Carmelo Anthony Foundation 15 years ago to provide community outreach to fuel change and social reforms in local communities. In 2020, he served as guest Editor-in-Chief for Slam Magazine’s Special Social Justice Issue.

Pacific Notes: Paul, Simon, Abdul-Jabbar, Durant

The Clippers view San Antonio as a serious threat to sign Chris Paul this summer, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. “Mutual interest” between Paul and the Spurs was suggested earlier this week by ESPN’s Zach Lowe, and L.A. officials see that as a concern despite San Antonio’s lack of cap space. Paul is expected to use an early-termination option and hit the free agent market. He is eligible for a five-year deal worth about $205MM from the Clippers and four years at roughly $152MM from anyone else. The Spurs only have about $10MM in cap room right now, with Dewayne Dedmon ($3MM) and David Lee ($1.6MM) both owning player options.

There’s more today from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers are finalizing a deal to add Miles Simon to their coaching staff, tweets Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times. He will replace Theo Robertson, who left this week to become an assistant at the University of California. The Most Outstanding Player in the 1997 NCAA Tournament, Simon played just five NBA games, all with Orlando. He spent three years as an assistant coach at Arizona and is currently a college basketball analyst for ESPN.
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar may be the next Lakers legend to get a role with the team, according to Mark Medina of The Orange County Register. Abdul-Jabbar says he has been invited to meet with president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and controlling owner Jeanie Buss to discuss a position in the organization. He added that he would like to serve as a mentor to second-year center Ivica Zubac and help him develop his hook shot. “He’s equipped to use it well,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “He has the length to begin with. If he can develop his shooting touch and agility, he’ll use it well.”
  • As the NBA Finals approach, Warriors star Kevin Durant is “at peace” with his decision to leave Oklahoma City, relays Sam Amick of USA Today. He bristles at suggestions that his move is behind the lack of parity in the NBA. “Like I’m the reason why Orlando couldn’t make the playoffs for five, six years in a row?” he said. “Am I the reason that Brooklyn gave all their picks to Boston? Like, am I the reason that they’re not that good. I can’t play for every team, so the truth of the matter is I left one team. It’s one more team that you probably would’ve thought would’ve been a contender. One more team. I couldn’t have made the (entire) East better. I couldn’t have made everybody [else] in the West better.”

Bucks Notes: Ownership, Hammond, Drew

New Bucks owners Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry have met with candidates to buy minority shares in the team, and they hope to add five to 10 new investors, reports Don Walker of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Former Bucks player Junior Bridgeman and Milwaukee businessman Ted Kellner are candidates, Walker hears, and Lasry acknowledged Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s desire to get in the mix, tweets Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times. Here’s more on the Bucks and the rest of the Central Division:

  • Edens appears to have assumed the role of primary owner, as he’ll represent the Bucks on the Board of Governors, Gardner notes (Twitter link).
  • Edens and Lasry spoke of their support for GM John Hammond and coach Larry Drew, but the owners stopped short of guaranteeing their long-term futures with the club, Journal Sentinel scribe Charles F. Gardner reports. Edens said previously that Hammond will remain with the Bucks at least through the draft.
  • The Bucks will work out a handful of big man prospects tomorrow, including former Marquette standout Davante Gardner, per Gery Woelfel of the Journal Times (Twitter link).

Ryan Raroque contributed to this post.