Los Angeles Lakers

The path that LeBron James took to pass Kobe Bryant on the NBA all-time scoring list

LeBron James is in his 17th season and still going strong, pushing towards what looks like yet another MVP-calibre season.

And now, he's finally passed Kobe Bryant on the all-time scoring list.

The same Bryant that grinded through 20 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers and the player who once stood the best shot of doing the unthinkable and breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time scoring record.

Make no mistake about it: LeBron passing Kobe is a significant moment.

It's one of those arbitrary leap frog moments that will forever be etched in stone, just as it was when Kobe passed Michael Jordan or when Kobe became the Lakers' all-time leading scorer.

It's important to take stock not just of where we're at in this celebratory moment, but to recognize the pain-staking steps it took to get here.

Which is why we've laid out the scoring journeys of both Kobe and LeBron to help illustrate the 24-year journey it took to get here.

James, of course, isn't done.

Who knows how long he'll play but there are now just two names ahead of him in the record books: Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Assuming good health - and let's not kid ourselves, that's a big assumption even for someone like James - he could move past Malone into second sometime in the 2021-22 season if he continues to average somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 points per game, which is, again, a big assumption.

Abdul-Jabbar isn't that far out of reach either. Using that same 25 points per game benchmark, James would need to play in 190 more games. That would put him likely in range sometime during the early part of the 2022-23 season, which would be his 20th.

Kobe Bryant played 20 seasons, which means if James can match the Mamba's longevity, he could retire as the most prolific scorer in NBA history.

Not bad for a kid from Akron.

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