The Lakers’ season is officially in shambles. Injuries, inconsistency, under-performance, and perhaps most glaringly, front office ineptitude that failed to procure another superstar to play alongside LeBron James, have all spoiled what was supposed to be a coronation in Los Angeles, in which one of the NBA’s prestige franchises rekindled the flame of its once dazzling luminosity.
LeBron was supposed to spearhead the restoration initiative. Instead, he spent most of two months sidelined with a quad injury while the nascent roster was left floundering in his wake. He’s back now, but the damage has been irreparable, and he now faces the very likely prospect of missing the playoffs for the first time since his sophomore season.
There have been whispers about shutting him for the rest of the season for health-preservation purposes, although he’s essentially balked at that idea. For now, LeBron will keep suiting up for the Lakers, and in the process, he’ll continue to rack up NBA records to add to his already-crowded mantelpiece.
Going into Wednesday night’s game against the Nuggets, he needed just 13 points to pass Michael Jordan for fourth all-time in scoring in NBA history, and he did precisely that in the second quarter. LeBron tied Jordan at 32,292 points with a fadeaway jumper on the right baseline and then passed him with an and-1 layup shortly after.
Before the game, even LeBron himself couldn’t contain his excitement about reaching that historic milestone.
During the timeout after he passed Jordan, James was emotional on the bench realizing what he’d done.
Some sportsbooks had been taking bets on which quarter LeBron would accomplish that feat against Denver, with the highest payouts going to the first or fourth-quarter bettors. LeBron is averaging just over 27 ppg this season, so chances were good this would be the night he’d reach that historic feat.
He’ll have to wait until next season to overtake Kobe Bryant for the No. 3 spot on the list, who he still trails by more than 1,300 points.