LeBron James passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for second place on the NBA’s all-time postseason scoring list Wednesday night, leading the Cavaliers to a 125-103 win over Toronto in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semis. James, who scored 39 points, passed Abdul-Jabbar (5,762) – in 32 fewer games, by the way – and now trails only Michael Jordan (5,987) for the top spot.
This is historically significant.
“LeBron James is now in the conversation with Jordan, and when it’s all said and done, we may have to brace ourselves for the idea and the potential that he will be No. 1,” NBA on TNT announcer Ian Eagle said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “When it’s all finished, LeBron could go down as the greatest player in basketball history. That’s what’s happening right now. That’s what’s real. That’s no longer theory. That’s real.”
Jordan, considered by many the greatest player of all time, won six NBA titles, six Finals MVPs, and five regular-season MVPs. James can’t match any of those numbers. Not now, anyway. But by the end of his career? It’s certainly possible – especially in the postseason-scoring department. James (5,777) trails Jordan by just 210 points.
“We are now in the conversation we thought we would never have,” Eagle said. ‘When Michael Jordan completed his NBA career, I think everybody that watched the NBA, even old-timers – and there were those that might have fought tooth and nail until the end – finally relented and said, ‘Okay, this guy is the greatest winner that we have ever seen.’”
Better than Wilt. Better than Russell. Better than Oscar. Better than Kareem.
But better than James? We don’t know yet.
“When you watch this guy, it’s an amazing display of talent and versatility, and no matter who you put him with, he wins,” Eagle said. “He doesn’t win the championship every year, but he wins every single year no matter who the supporting cast is. This is one of the rare guys (who) can put his foot on the gas pedal, he can flip his switch, he will sit back and pick and choose his spots – and even in the game (Wednesday) night, you saw that.”
James scored 39 points despite taking just 14 shots from the floor. He also shot 15-of-21 from the foul line and added four assists for good measure.
“He was a facilitator, which is his general instinct on the floor, and when he has to go out and score, he does it,” Eagle said. “When he has to take over games, he does it. When he has to make a defensive play, he does it. He’s now in that chatter that I thought we probably were never going to get to again where Jordan was in the pantheon by himself. LeBron is there with him.”