LeBron passes his idol Jordan

LeBron James overtook his boyhood idol and inspiration, Michael Jordan, for fourth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list on Wednesday. He made history with a driving layup for the Los Angeles Lakers in a home loss to Denver.

The 34-year-old superstar matched the Chicago Bulls legend’s career total of 32 292 points with his first 12 of the game, then made history with 5:38 remaining in the second quarter and sank a free throw to complete a three-point play.

“A lot of stuff I’ve done in my career — this ranks right up there at the top with winning the championship,” James said. “It’s just crazy, to be honest. It’s beyond crazy.”

During the next timeout, James went to the bench and buried his head in a towel, appearing to cry while a video tribute played on the scoreboard.

He reflected on the achievement of surpassing the icon whom he emulated: “It was very emotional. A lot of things were going on inside me at the time,” he said. “I didn’t want to show what was going on behind that towel.”

Denver, led by Will Barton’s 23 points, defeated the Lakers 115-99 to pull within a game of Golden State for the Western Conference lead. The Nuggets (43-21) closed with a 26-12 run to foil a Lakers rally.

But the night belonged to James, who wrote “Thank You MJ 23” on his shoes.

“For a kid from Akron, Ohio, that needed inspiration and some type of positive influence, MJ was that guy for me. I watched him from afar, wanted to be like MJ,” James said. “Me and my friends, all we ever talked about was MJ. He was everything.

“You have no idea. Some days you don’t even think you’re going to make it to the next day because of the way things are going. Hopefully I can inspire the next kid like myself.”

Jordan and James are often compared as the best players in NBA history. James wears the same No 23 worn by Jordan and recalled being 15 when he first met his idol.


“It was like meeting Jesus. That’s what meeting MJ was like, because I never thought I’d ever meet him,” James said. “He was like lightning in a bottle for me.

“MJ had a lot to do with me making it out [of poverty] as well as
my mother. But Mike had no idea what he was doing for a kid growing up a 45-minute flight from Chicago when he was doing all that work.”

James finished with 31 points, moving his fourth-best NBA career total to 32 311, and added seven rebounds and seven assists for the Lakers (30-35).

James, the top scorer among active players, made his points in 1 190 games compared with 1 072 for Jordan.

The next target for James will be retired Lakers star guard Kobe Bryant, who is third on the NBA career list with 33 643 points.

Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar holds the NBA points record with 38 387, with long-time Utah great Karl Malone ranked second on 36 928.

At his current pace, James is likely to pass Bryant next season and could overtake Abdul-Jabbar by the end of his Lakers contract in the 2021-22 campaign — if he stays healthy.

James hit two three-pointers in the first quarter but also went 0-4 from the free throw line. He added a lay-in and jumper to match Jordan early in the second quarter and then broke the record soon after.

“It was a pretty awesome moment,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “Knowing that moment was a few minutes ahead of him, I think that did something to him, nerve-wracking, that he doesn’t feel normally at the start of a game.” — AFP

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

‘Tenderpreneurs’ block the delivery of protective equipment to schools

Protests by local suppliers have delayed PPE delivery, which according to the DBE, is one of the reasons the reopening of schools has been pushed back until June 8

‘Soon he’ll be seen as threatening, not cute’: What it’s...

There is no separating George Floyd’s killing from the struggles black people have faced ever since the first slave ships landed on these shores

How schools could work during Covid

Ahead of their opening, the basic education department has given schools three models to consider to ensure physical distancing
Advertising

Press Releases

Mining company uses rich seam of technology to gear up for Covid-19

Itec Direct technology provides instant temperature screening of staff returniing to the workplace with no human contact

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

Wills, Estate Administration and Succession Planning Webinar

Capital Legacy has had no slowdown in lockdown regarding turnaround with clients, in storing or retrieving wills and in answering their questions

Call for Expression of Interest: Training supply and needs assessment to support the energy transition in South Africa

GIZ invites eligible and professional companies with local presence in South Africa to participate in this tender to support the energy transition

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday