LeBron James continues to climb the all-time NBA scoring list at an alarming rate, passing Shaquille O’Neal for seventh on the all-time list on Thursday night.
James made a free throw in the fourth quarter of the Cavaliers’ game against the Chicago Bulls, giving him 28,597 points to surpass Shaq’s career total.
Next up on the list is Dirk Nowitzki with 30,181 points (and counting), but that will take a little longer to reach since Nowitzki is still playing.
Because it’s his 14th season in the league it’s easy to forget that LeBron is just 32 years old -- which will likely give him plenty of time to try to pass legends like Wilt Chamberlain (fifth on the all-time scoring list) and Michael Jordan (third).
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record of 38,387 points is still far off, but it’s not inconceivable for LeBron to get there. James has been averaging about 2,000 points per season for the last few years, so if he can stay around that total he’ll need about four or five more seasons to pass Abdul-Jabbar.
Given LeBron’s track record of incredible health and the fact that a lot of stars play into their 19th and 20th seasons, it’s possible that James could retire as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.
As for the game, LeBron finished with 26 points, 10 boards and 8 assists, but it wasn’t enough in a 99-93 loss in Chicago. The Cavaliers fell a half-game behind Boston for the top seed in the East.