When will LeBron break Kareem’s record?

TODAY
37,371
PTS. NEEDED
1,017
PROJ. GAMES
38
PROJ. DATE
2/9/23

When LeBron James passed Karl Malone for second on the NBA's career regular-season points list, he set his sights firmly on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA's current all-time leading scorer.


Abdul-Jabbar has been atop the career points list since April 5, 1984 -- eight months before James was even born -- when he broke the mark previously held by Wilt Chamberlain. Now James has that record within reach, needing 1,017 points to surpass Abdul-Jabbar's career total of 38,387.


At his career scoring average of 27.1 PPG, James would need 38 games to rack up that total, putting him on track to break the record on Feb. 9 against the Milwaukee Bucks. James has missed six games this season, and if he continues to miss games at the same rate he did last season, the record-breaking game would come March 12, against the New York Knicks. Through 12 games this season, James is averaging 25.8 PPG, leaving him slightly behind his career pace.


We'll have ongoing coverage of LeBron's quest, including updated game-by-game projections and complete stats, throughout the season.


JAMES VS. ABDUL-JABBAR
Even though James has already missed six games this season, he's significantly ahead of the pace Abdul-Jabbar set in his 20th and final season in 1988-89. James has scored 309 points in 12 games in 2022-23; Abdul-Jabbar needed 33 games to reach the 300-point mark.
JAMES
ABDUL-JABBAR
YEAR-BY-YEAR POINT TOTALS
20TH YEAR COMPARISON
“Hopefully we're in town, because I'm coming to that game [when LeBron breaks the record]. If we have a game, I still might come to the game, because that's a big accomplishment. I love Bron and everything he's done for me and everything he stands for.”
TYRONN LUE
LA Clippers head coach
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images
LAST GAME
OPP.
POINTS
39
RESULT (W)
143 - 138
Playing for the second consecutive night after missing the previous five games, James posted a season high with 39 points, the most he's scored in a game against the Spurs since Dec. 5, 2018.
LAST 5 GAMES
OPPONENT
DATE
POINTS
“To know that I’m on the verge of breaking probably the most sought-after record in the NBA, things that people say would probably never be done, I think it’s just super humbling for myself. I think it’s super cool.”
LeBRON JAMES
On passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images
NEXT GAME
OPP.
CAREER PPG
27.4
GAME HIGH
47
ANDY LYONS/GETTY IMAGES
James has four career 40-point games against the Pacers in the regular season, but the best he's done against Indiana as a Laker is 39 points in an overtime win almost exactly one year ago.
TUNE IN
NOV. 28, 10:30 P.M. ET: PACERS AT LAKERS
(NBA LEAGUE PASS)

Edited by Adam Reisinger.

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Illustrations by Iveta Karpathyova. Development by Christian Ramirez. Research by ESPN Stats and Information.