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LeBron James will likely become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer before he retires. But even he knows he won’t hold the title forever.
LeBron James entered this season No. 2 on the NBA all-time scoring list, trailing only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He’s currently just 422 points behind and will likely pass him before the end of the season. Abdul Jabbar has held the crown since he retired in 1989 but it’s LeBron seems to understand he might not hold the top spot nearly that long.
In a recent interview on ESPN, LeBron spoke about the players that he thinks could eventually pass him, naming Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, among others.
Who could actually pass LeBron on the all-time scoring list?
LeBron is clearly paying some compliments but not all of the players he named seem like realistic options. Durant currently trails LeBron by roughly 12,000 points. Assuming that margin stays roughly the same until LeBron retires, Durant would need another six or seven fully healthy seasons after that, scoring around 26.0 points per game to get there.
Kyrie Irving, largely because of missed games, is way down the list and need to nearly triple his total career scoring to this point to even pass Kareem, let alone LeBron.
Of the players mentioned, Luka Doncic may be the best bet. He’s already scored roughly 8,500 points and is still just 23. Health is a lingering issue for him (he’s played 70 or more games just once in his career) but assuming 27ish points per game and 72 games per season, he’d need about 15 more seasons to pass Kareem and approach LeBron’s ballpark. He may likely have some higher-scoring seasons in his prime but the number of games he can play is going to be the ultimate determinant.
And of course, looking at all these numbers and the possibilities should only emphasize just how remarkable the scoring accomplishments of LeBron and Kareem are.
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