By Dan Gelston, AP Sports Writer
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — LeBron James moved past Kobe Bryant for third place on the NBA’s career scoring list, getting the milestone on a driving layup against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night.
The Los Angeles Lakers star scored the basket with 7:23 left in the third quarter and he waved to a Sixers crowd that gave him a rousing standing ovation when the mark was announced by the public address announcer. The basket gave him 33,644 points.
“Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother 💪🏾 #33644,” Bryant tweeted.
James entered 18 points shy of passing Bryant on the list and couldn’t quite get there in the first half. He scored six points in the first quarter but had four turnovers that included an errant pass into the seats. He opened the second quarter with a layup, and then went to the free throw line for his next four points, giving him 12.
He finished the first half 3 for 7 from the floor, missed all three 3s, had five turnovers and three fouls for 14 points.
The 35-year-old James entered averaging at least 25 points (25.2 ppg) for the 16th straight season and has played 44 games this season. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the NBA’s career scoring leader with 38,387 points and Karl Malone is second at 36,928. James is on pace to pass Abdul-Jabbar in about three seasons.
James passed Bryant in Philadelphia, where the five-time champion was born. Bryant, who played his entire career with the Lakers, finished with 33,643 points. With a nod to Bryant’s nickname, James scribbled “Mamba 4 Life” on his Nikes against the 76ers.
James, who played in eight consecutive NBA Finals, has 6,911 postseason points with Cleveland and Miami that do not count in the official total. The top four scorers in NBA history played for the Lakers, who signed James as a free agent in 2018.
“Just as a fan, you step back and just watch his body of work, no matter where he goes it’s off the chart unique. He does it with class,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said before the game. “Amongst all his success and the attention he receives on a daily basis, he doesn’t seem to blink. He’s got character, he lives right, he acts right, he’s arguably the greatest player to ever play our sport.”