PHILADELPHIA. — LeBron James passed Kobe Bryant for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list on Saturday night.
With the Los Angeles Lakers trailing the host Philadelphia 76ers 74-52 with 7 1/2 minutes left in the third period, James worked off a screen, took a pass from Anthony Davis at the 3-point line and drove across the lane for a layup and the historic points.
The basket gave James 33,644 career points, one more than former Lakers great Bryant’s 33,643. During a timeout after the basket, the Philadelphia crowd gave James a standing ovation.
James finished the game with 29 points, leaving him at 33,655 for his career. The Lakers lost to the 76ers 108-91.
“I’m happy just to be in any conversation with Kobe Bryant,” James told reporters after the game. “One of the all-time greatest basketball players to ever play, one of the all-time greatest Lakers. The man got two jerseys hanging up in Staples Center. It’s just crazy.”
Longtime Utah Jazz star forward (and brief member of the Lakers) Karl Malone is next, with 36,928 points. Center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the league’s all-time scoring leader with 38,387 points.
James, 35, is in his 17th NBA season and second with the Lakers. He spent 11 seasons across two different stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers, with a four-season run in Miami in between.
He began the night averaging 25.2 points in 43 games this season, leading the Lakers to the Western Conference’s best record at 36-10, including Saturday’s loss. He was also named to his 16th straight All-Star Game earlier this week.
In other games, it was Utah 112, Dallas 107; Brooklyn 121, Detroit 111 (OT); Chicago 118, Cleveland 106; and Oklahoma City 113, Minnesota 104.