LeBron James was a man on a mission Tuesday.
Needing 36 points to become the NBA’s all-time regular-season scoring leader, the Lakers superstar went on a scoring spree, clinching the record in the third quarter Tuesday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder in front of a jubilant home crowd in Los Angeles.
James had 20 points by halftime, and racked up another 16 in the third quarter, setting the record on a fadeaway jumper with 10.9 seconds left in the quarter.
James rested for much of the fourth quarter, and scored just two more points (for 38,390) while dealing with what appeared to be a right foot injury. He ended the game with 38 points in the Thunder’s 133-130 victory.
Another Lakers legend, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had held the scoring record for nearly four decades, with 38,387 career points. Abdul-Jabbar set the NBA record in 1984, topping Wilt Chamberlain, and continued playing until 1989.
Abdul-Jabbar was courtside Tuesday to watch James set the mark, and in a passing-of-the-torch moment, ceremonially handed a ball over to him.
The game was stopped so the NBA could honor James, 38, who’s playing in his 20th season. James will be honored again with a larger-scale celebration at the upcoming NBA All-Star Game in Salt Lake City.
Joined by his family, a teary-eyed James addressed the cheering crowd, acknowledging Abdul-Jabbar, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and the fans. “I thank you guys so much for allowing me to be a part of something I’ve always dreamed about,” he said.
“It’s a towering achievement,” Silver said in a statement. “And quite amazingly, LeBron continues to play at an elite level and his basketball history is still being written.”
The scoring record was long thought of as untouchable. Karl Malone — now the league’s third all-time leading scorer — retired 1,459 points behind Abdul-Jabbar, while Michael Jordan finished his career more than 6,000 points shy.
James is likely to hold onto the record for a while: No active player is within 10,000 points of him.
This article was originally published by Marketwatch.com. Read the original article here.