Following Thursday evening's triple-double effort in a 128-113 victory over the Brooklyn Nets, LeBron James is now just 18 points away from passing Kobe Bryant on the all-time scoring list. For a player averaging 25.1 points per game this season, it is likely James will reach that mark on Saturday against the Philadelphia 76ers.
That left the 35-year-old feeling a bit reflective after his performance on Thursday. Speaking on the court after the game, James couldn't help but gush about reaching the level Bryant is at.
Back when Bryant became the third-leading scorer in NBA history, James was quick to sing his praises. It'll be interesting to see what Bryant does for James when he is inevitably passed.
It'll also be interesting to see the reaction in Philadelphia if James is able to catch Bryant on Saturday with Kobe being one of the city's native sons. The same could be said for if James doesn't pass Bryant next game, as his next opportunity would come at Staples Center against the Clippers.
Whenever it does happen, James will become the NBA's third-leading scorer behind only Karl Malone (36,928 points) and another Lakers great in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points). The biggest difference between James and Bryant though is that it will have taken James nearly 100 fewer games to reach Bryant's total of 33,643 points—and it certainly helps that James has shot 50.4 percent from the field for his career compared to Bryant's 44.7 percent.
At his current career pace, if James plays five more seasons, he'd become the first NBA player to surpass 40,000 points. That doesn't seem likely considering James has scored more than 2,000 points in a season just once in the last five seasons.
James has a knack for surprising his doubters, though.
Being mentioned as one of the greatest basketball players of all time and a leading scorer in NBA history will just have to do for now.