Lakers' LeBron James Passes Kobe Bryant for No. 3 on NBA's All-Time Scoring List

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 26, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, center right, goes up for the shot with Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris, right, and Shake Milton, center left, defending during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Chris Szagola/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James moved into third place on the all-time scoring list Saturday, passing Kobe Bryant with a layup in the third quarter.

James, 35, entered Saturday's game against the Philadelphia 76ers just 17 points behind Bryant's 33,643, which he accumulated by spending all 20 of his NBA seasons with the Lakers.

The Lakers currently sit 36-9, establishing themselves as a clear title favorite. James has taken on more point guard-type duties than at any other point of his career and is currently leading the NBA in assists at 10.8 per game. He and Anthony Davis have made for a seamless partnership.

It will be at least another season, if not into 2021-22, before James is moving up to second on the all-time list. James is more than 3,000 points behind Karl Malone, who is second on the all-time list with 36,928 points. He has scored fewer than 2,000 total points in four of the previous five seasons due to missing games for rest/injuries.

If James scores at his current 25.2 points per game clip, it will take him approximately 130 more games to pass Malone. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is first on the all-time scoring list with 38,387 points, which is about another season's worth of work. Conservatively, LeBron will probably have to play until around his 40th birthday to become the game's all-time leading scorer.

When LeBron passed Michael Jordan on the all-time list last season, he said it ranked close to winning a championship.

"Of all the stuff I've done in my career, this ranks right up there at the top with winning a championship," James told reporters. "For a kid from Akron, Ohio, that needed inspiration and needed some type of positive influence, MJ was that guy for me. I watched him from afar, wanted to be like MJ, wanted to shoot fadeaways like MJ, wanted to stick my tongue out on dunks like MJ, wanted to wear my sneakers like MJ. I wanted kids to look up to me at some point like MJ and it's just crazy, to be honest. It's beyond crazy."

Of course, the Bryant comparisons will be a little different. For much of their careers, Bryant and James were closer to rivals than anything—especially among those on social media. There has been a Kobe Hive and a LeBron Hive for more than a decade, and James joining the Lakers only served to heighten the comparisons.

Now that James has passed Bryant, odds are you won't want to log on to social media for a couple of days if you've grown tired of Kobe vs. LeBron.

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