The G.O.A.T. Debate is Over…Or is It?


Adam Silver, from left, poses with LeBron James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar after James surpassed Abdul-Jabbar’s long-held record PHOTO//Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / MCT Campus

Connor Creedon, Features and News Editor

NBA fans worldwide no longer have to keep count with bated breath on how close Lebron James is to becoming the all-time regular season leading scorer in the Association: it is official. 

The Los Angeles Lakers suited up to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder in a western conference matchup that was anything but typical. Before the start of the game on Tuesday, February 7, Lebron James was only 36 points away from passing the longtime Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabar for most points ever scored in the NBA over an athlete’s career. 

The number to beat was 38,387 points, and with ten seconds left in the third quarter, Lebron nailed a fadeaway midrange jumper to boost his total points to 38,388 and finished with a total of 38,390 at the conclusion of the game. The record that stood strong for 38 years finally fell to the 38-year-old, who has been defining new heights since he came into the league.

While there are so many reasons why this is such an astonishing feat, the fact that Lebron needed 3,703 fewer minutes and 478 fewer shots showcases the skill level it takes to accomplish such a milestone.

There is always the conversation where fans and players alike should acknowledge that the game has changed in many ways since Kareem Abdul-Jabar ended his playing days in 1989, including foul calling, three-point shooting and physicality. Kareem was in attendance in Los Angeles for this historic game and had nothing but praise for “The King.”

“You have to give him credit for just the way he played and for the way he’s lasted and dominated,” said Kareem, “he has that indefinable essence that they call leadership.”

There has never been much doubt on who the best player in the NBA is ever since Lebron James was drafted into the league out of high school by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003. 20 years later, there is still little to no doubt about what he can do for the fans, teammates and coaches that all love being a part of this remarkable basketball journey.

After earning four championships, four MVP awards, four Finals MVP awards and two Olympic gold medals, many would think Lebron would wind down and consider retirement, mainly because he is nearly 40 years old. Luckily for sports fans far and wide, apparently, there is still some gas in the tank.

“I could definitely play for a few more years,” said James in an interview following the loss to the Thunder and the broken record. “I love the game, and I love the way I’m playing.”

In the discussion for the greatest basketball player of all time, with so many different contenders, Lebron James surely makes the topic ripe for heated conversation. 

The choice lies with the fan: Is Lebron James the greatest basketball player of all time?