Lakers’ star LeBron James became the fifth all-time scorer in NBA history with a 44-point performance surpassing Wilt Chamberlain in the team’s second straight victory against the Portland Trail Blazers on Nov. 14.
“Any time my name is mentioned with some of the greats that have played this game, I always think back to my hometown, where I come from and how far I’ve come,” declared James.
James scored his 31,425 point on an and-one play with 3:55 left in the fourth quarter of the contest against the Trail Blazers. He finished with 10 rebounds and nine assists to accompany his 44-points, the most points scored by a Laker since Kobe Bryant’s 60-point performance in Bryant’s final game of his career.
It was not only a historic night for James, it was also his most efficient in a Lakers uniform. James was five for six from three-point and shot 86 percent from the field.
This latest accomplishment means James trails just Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul Jabbar respectively for the top all-time NBA scorer position. James moved past Chamberlain, who to date still holds the highest single-game scoring record by an NBA player
James told reporters following his record-setting performance that he would donate his game-worn jersey to his school, I Promise, in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. Though the Lakers would fall to the Orlando Magic in the following game, James would find redemption in his return to South Beach. He scored a season-high 51 points including six, three-pointers made.
The final three-pointer that sealed the game against the Heat was a dare by James’ teammate Lance Stephenson.
“Lance (Stephenson) told me to finish the game off and said, ‘I bet you won’t shoot a 3,’” James mentioned. “He said, ‘Go for the 3. I bet you won’t go for the 3.’ So I went for the 3.”
Once more, James made history by eclipsing Allen Iverson to become the sixth-most player with 50-point games in league history. It is James’ twelfth 50-point performance with his third NBA franchise.
“I’ve played for three very, very historic franchises in the time that I played,” James said of his career with the Cavaliers, Heat, and Lakers. “Obviously, in Miami we did some historical things. In Cleveland we was able to do some historical [things]. And obviously the Lakers [name] speaks for itself, what they’ve been able to do.”
James is averaging 26.7 points on 51.2 percent shooting from the floor and 45.5 percent from the three-point line including eight double-doubles and a triple-double.
James led the Heat to two NBA championships.
“It’s always great to be here,” James said. “We had some not-so-good times, we had more great times, so it’s always a respect factor and a love for the people in Miami and especially the people who work here.”
After the game, he broke it down simply as, “Well the environment is a basketball and a hoop; that’s my environment.”
In just his first season of a four-year contract James signed this offseason, he is already making waves towards bringing the Lakers back to relevance all while continuing to etch his place in the history books. The Lakers will return to Staples Center to face the Jazz on Friday, Nov. 23, following their three-game road trip.