How LeBron James changed the game and became NBA’s all-time leading scorer

He's known as King James in the world of basketball, and Tuesday night, LeBron James only added to that title and his legend when he passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the all-time scoring king in NBA history. Greg Anthony, a former NBA player who is now a commentator and TV analyst, joined Geoff Bennett to discuss how LeBron changed the game.

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  • Geoff Bennett:

    He is known as King James in the world of basketball, and, last night, LeBron James only added to that title and his legend, when he passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the all-time scoring king in NBA history.

    He blew past a record that stood for nearly 40 years.

  • Announcer:

    Looking for James. He's got it. Coming to the end of the third quarter. LeBron James, a shot at history. And there it is!


  • Announcer:

    LeBron stands alone! The NBA's all-time scoring record now belongs to LeBron James!

  • Geoff Bennett:

    After the game, LeBron was asked by Shaquille O'Neal on TNT whether he now considers himself to be the greatest basketball player of all time.

  • LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers:

    I'm going to take myself against anybody that has ever played his game. But everyone's going to have their favorite. Everyone's going to decide who their favorite is. But I know what I have brought to the table. I know what I bring to the table every single night and what I can — what I can do out on this floor.

    So, I always feel like I'm the best to ever play this game, but there's so many other great ones that I'm happy to just be a part of their — part of their journey.

  • Geoff Bennett:

    Let's bring in Greg Anthony, a commentator and analyst for NBA TV. And he's a former guard who played in the league for 11 years for the Knicks, Grizzlies, Blazers, and Bulls.

    Greg Anthony, we appreciate you being with us.

    And, look, LeBron James says, as far as he's concerned, he's the best to ever play the game. You can't really argue with that, or can you?

  • Greg Anthony, NBA TV Analyst:

    Well, it's very difficult to argue with it.

    While he's immensely popular, he won't necessarily be the most popular and at times can be polarizing. But I do think his accomplishments kind of set him apart. To be considered the all — to be the all-time leading scorer, he's won four world championships. He's won four MVPs, still playing at an extremely high level, probably be All NBA again in his 20th season.

    It's really hard to go against that. I think a better way to have perspective on this also is, if you think about over the last, I don't know, 100 years of pro sports, we have had two athletes that probably had more hype than anybody else prior to them. And what's amazing is, both have exceeded the expectations.

    And that's Tiger Woods and LeBron James. You have to remember, this is a young man that came right out of high school, and he was dubbed the chosen one. And so often, as I'm sure you're well aware of, when young athletes have that much hype and that large of an expectation placed upon them, the pressure oftentimes consumes them and overwhelms them.

    And that has not been the case with LeBron. Also, he has been an incredible ambassador for our game. He's grown the game immensely. He's always been — had the courage to go out and put forth his beliefs, his philosophy, and speak out and speak up for those who maybe were less fortunate.

    So, with that comes a lot of arrows as well. But, for me, I would say he is the greatest ever. And, listen, it doesn't take away from a Michael Jordan or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or Bill Russell. All of these greats were that and they were the greatest that their time.

    But as the game has evolved, if you look at the level of talent in our league now, it has never been as high. And, therefore, to be the best unquestionably in this era, it's kind of hard to argue against it.

  • Geoff Bennett:

    Well, to your point about him not succumbing to the pressure, I mean, he had the nickname King James back when he was playing ball in high school.

    How did this kid from Akron turn out to be one of, if not the best basketball player of all time?

  • Greg Anthony:

    It's an incredible journey, if you think about it, raised by a single mom who had him at a very young age, and was never, I think, overwhelmed by the temptations of success as a young person.

    If you think about his work ethic, his discipline, the way he's conducted himself in an era and an age where it's really difficult to, in essence, go unscathed, if you will, especially when you put yourself out there, as LeBron has, I don't know that we could have had — ever had a better ambassador for the game of basketball.

    He is truly grown it, grown the game. And I marvel at what this young man has been able to overcome, bringing a championship to Cleveland, arguably being the greatest team ever assembled. That team won 73 games. They broke the all-time win record set by Michael Jordan and the great Bulls teams he had in the '90s.

    And they were down 3-1 in that series. And for him to be able to come back and win that, that's probably the seminal moment in his career, but he won three other championships. He made — played in eight consecutive finals. And to have those kinds of accomplishments, it's just rare in this day and age.

    He's won a championship and a finals MVP on three different teams. No one's ever done anything like that.

  • Geoff Bennett:


    And, look, LeBron James is 38 years old. He's in season 20 of his NBA playing career. By conventional basketball playing standards, he's an old man, but he says he's going to keep playing. He's averaging 30 points a game right now. How high could his scoring record go?

  • Greg Anthony:

    That's a great question.

    Well, I know for a fact he has said he wants to play in the NBA with his son, Bronny. And so I'm going to assume that Bronny is probably a couple years away from making it to the NBA. So, realistically, I think he's going to play another three, four years. You factor at the level he's playing — again, in his 20th season, he's going to make All NBA, which is just an incredible feat.

    I do think he's got a good three or four years at a really high level. So that scoring record could be really put out of the stratosphere, if you will.

  • Geoff Bennett:

    Greg Anthony is a commentator and analyst for NBA TV.

    Appreciate your time and your insights.

  • Greg Anthony:

    My pleasure.

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