LBJ eclipsed Bird (now 31st all-time) in the first quarter against the Kings with this highlight windmill dunk, then passed Payton (now 30th all-time) with an off-balanced three-pointer.
He put up 33 points all told in the 108-103 overtime loss.
Payton, meanwhile, scored 21,813 points during his career in 1,335 games played. He spent the majority of his career with the Seattle Supersonics and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame earlier this year.
After tonight's contest, James has played in 794 career games (excluding playoffs) in his 11th season as a pro. With the 33 points James scored Friday, he now has 21,819 career points (six ahead of Payton, 28 ahead of Bird).
It may seem surprising that James has already reached 29th all-time in scoring, but again, LBJ is playing his 11th season in the NBA.
James was surprised by the milestone and credited his own durability, according to Bleacher Report's Ethan Skolnick:
"Oh, wow," James said. "Two of the greatest, two Hall of Famers, two champions, man. To be able to do that, I don't know if it means a lot scoring, but it shows I've been very durable in my career."
James entered Friday's game averaging 25.2 points per game on 59.5 percent shooting from the field. His career-high scoring average in a season was 31.4 points per game in 2005-06 with the Cleveland Cavaliers.