LeBron James Passes Larry Bird, Gary Payton on NBA's All-Time Scoring List

Ben LeibowitzCorrespondent IIIDecember 27, 2013

USA Today

Miami Heat superstar LeBron James climbed to 29th on the NBA's all-time scoring list against the Sacramento Kings on Friday by passing NBA legends Larry Bird and Gary Payton.

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.

Bird scored 21,791 points during a 13-year NBA career (all for Boston). He played 897 career games (excluding playoffs). He's currently president of basketball operations for the Indiana Pacers.

TERRE HAUTE - NOVEMBER 9:  NBA legend Larry Bird makes a speech during the unveiling of the Larry Bird statue at the Hulman Center on the campus of Indiana State University on November 9, 2013 in Terre Haute, Indiana.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowl
Ron Hoskins/Getty Images

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.

Feb 15, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Gary Payton waves after being announced as a 2013 hall of fame finalist during a press conference at the Hilton Americas.  Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

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.