We May Never See Another NBA Record Chase Like LeBron James’s

LeBron James is about a week away from usurping Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to seize the NBA’s career scoring crown. His 38,388th regular-season point will represent a monumental achievement, both because of the record’s simple magnitude—the goal of basketball is to score the most points; LeBron will have the most points—and because of the rarity of a new record in the NBA.

Sure, Steph Curry set the career 3-point mark just last season, and the odd single-season record—James Harden for most turnovers, José Calderón for highest free throw percentage—falls every now and then.

But in terms of the big five box score numbers—the counting stats that anyone can track in any basketball game from grade school up through the NBA—any new names atop the career leaderboard are less frequent than a playoff appearance from the Sacramento Kings.

The points record has changed hands just once since 1966; Abdul-Jabbar has held it since before LeBron was even born. The rebounds record hasn’t budged in half a century. And the assists, steals, and blocks record holders have all rested comfortably since the mid-1990s.

Yet even that historical summary undersells the extraordinary nature of career records in the NBA. It’s not only that the four big non-points records have gone unchallenged for decades; it’s that they still won’t be challenged for decades more, if ever.

After all, even before LeBron mounted his climb up the leaderboard, Karl Malone came much closer to breaking the points record than anyone else has come to any of the others.

NBA Career Records

Statistic Leader (#) Second (#) Difference
Statistic Leader (#) Second (#) Difference
Points Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) Karl Malone (36,928)* 4%
Rebounds Wilt Chamberlain (23,924) Bill Russell (21,620) 11%
Blocks Hakeem Olajuwon (3,830) Dikembe Mutombo (3,289) 16%
Steals John Stockton (3,265) Jason Kidd (2,684) 22%
Assists John Stockton (15,806) Jason Kidd (12,091) 31%

*Excluding LeBron James

So let’s…

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Read More: We May Never See Another NBA Record Chase Like LeBron James’s 2023-01-31 13:18:17

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