MOVE over, Big Aristotle — the King is here.
With his 24th point against the Bulls on Thursday night, LeBron James surpassed Shaquille O’Neal for seventh on the NBA’s all-time regular-season scoring list (and ninth on the combined NBA/ABA leaderboard). LeBron finished with 26 points on the night, giving him 28,598 for his career — but the Cavs came up short in Chicago, falling 99-91 as the Bulls swept the season series.
O’Neal scored 28,596 points in his 19-year career, while LeBron is in just his 14th season. He reached this lofty plateau so quickly by posting the fifth-highest points per game average in NBA history (minimum 400 games played), at 27.11.
Next up for LeBron is Dirk Nowitzki, who has scored 30,181 points and counting. LeBron trails Nowitzki by nearly 1,600 points, so he’ll have to wait until at least next season before passing the Big German.
After Dirk, the top five in reverse order are Wilt Chamberlain (31, 419), Michael Jordan (32,292), Kobe Bryant (33,643), Karl Malone (36,928) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), via Basketball-Reference.com.
As for the playoffs? LeBron is currently fourth all time with 5,572 points, trailing Bryant (5,640 career postseason points), Abdul-Jabbar (5,762) and Michael Jordan (5,987).
As elated as everyone was for LeBron’s history-making feat, Shaquille O’Neal had a slightly different reaction.
The former NBA superstar partook in a hilarious video reacting to the news. Upon being shown he’d been bested by the Cavaliers star on a mobile, Shaq threw the phone to the ground before going to town with a broom.
LeBron James says the reigning NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers are “in a bad spot” after losing their third consecutive game, falling 99-93 Thursday at Chicago.
The Bulls completed a 4-0 regular-season sweep of Cleveland, boosting their chances of reaching the playoffs and dropping the Cavaliers (47-27) behind Boston (48-27) at the top of the Eastern Conference.
“We’re in a bad spot right now,” James said. “Not disappointed with the effort. Just in a bad spot. Got to try to figure it out… we’ve got some work to do and we don’t have a lot of time.” The Bulls (36-39) moved within one game of Miami and Indiana for the last two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference with seven games remaining over the next two weeks.
“We need them all,” Chicago star Jimmy Butler said. “That’s what we talk about. We’ve got to have these.” Nikola Mirotic, a Montenegrin-born Spaniard, scored 28 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Chicago.
“I just want to finish strong at the end of the season and help us get into the playoffs,” Mirotic said.
Butler added 25 points for the Bulls, who used defensive effort to close the third quarter on a crucial 11-3 run.
“We got back in transition,” Butler said. “It always helps to make shots but we guarded. That’s how we’ve got to play. We’ve got to rely on our defense.” James sparked Cleveland with 26 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists while Kyrie Irving added 20 for the Cavaliers, who were without forwards Kyle Korver and Richard Jefferson due to sore left knees.
FOLLOW us on Facebook at PortalState!