LeBron James thanks Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant as he reflects on path to setting NBA career scoring record

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LeBron James set the NBA’s all-time scoring record in Tuesday’s Los Angeles Lakers loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, but he did so late in the third quarter of a close game. The NBA stopped the game to celebrate the achievement, but they couldn’t exactly let the moment breathe when there was still basketball left to be played. So on Thursday, the Lakers held a pregame ceremony to honor James, and at the end, he took the floor. He thanked his family, calling wife Savannah, sons Bronny and Bryce, daughter Zhuri and mother Gloria his “starting five,” but he also took the time to appreciate some of the NBA legends that came before him.

“I had dreams every day of playing in the NBA,” James said. “I had dreams every day of being an inspiration to so many people. I had dreams of being able one day to throw no-look passes like Magic Johnson. To be able to shoot fadeaways like Michael Jordan. To be able to have a crossover like Allen Iverson. To be able to have an afro and jump in the dunk contest like Kobe Bryant. I looked up to so many athletes and so many people along my journey and they gave me the inspiration and they allowed my dreams to not die.”

James was recruited to Los Angeles by Johnson. He spent his entire career getting compared to Jordan. He played against Iverson. He followed Bryant as the face of the Lakers. Each played a significant part in his journey to the top of the NBA’s all-time scoring list even if he didn’t quite hit all of the milestones that were in his dreams. 

He can make the same passes Johnson made. He’s developed into a stellar fadeaway jump-shooter like Jordan. His crossover hasn’t approached Iverson’s level of dominance. And his hairline receded at such a young age that he could sadly never grow an afro like Bryant’s, though he jumps every bit as high as the former Laker legend did. In the end, James became an amalgam of all of them. He’s Johnson’s peer as a passer and Jordan’s rival as a scorer. He lifted bad teams like Iverson and won it all with the Lakers as Bryant did, every one of them helping James become the legend he is today. 


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