LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James moved into sixth place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list during Saturday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs.
James connected on a 17-foot jumper with 7:51 left in the third quarter to increase his total to 31,188 career points, one more than Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks. By the time he finished the game, James was at 31,202 points.
Nowitzki has been idle to start the season for Dallas as he continues to recover from offseason surgery on his left ankle.
James ended with a season-high 35 points in the contest, a 110-106 Lakers loss. He also passed Shaquille O’Neal for sixth on the all-time field goals list in the third quarter. O’Neal has 11,330; James is now at 11,339 after going 13-for-21.
LeBron, a three-time NBA champion, bid farewell to Cleveland after agreeing to a four-year $154 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.
“Guys that I’ve played against, played with, watched before I even got to the league, admired, was in awe of,” James told reporters of O’Neal and Nowitzki postgame.
“Dirk’s always been one of my favourite players, and I think Shaq is the most dominant player to ever play this game. So for me to be in the same conversation with those guys in anything that we’re talking about as far as basketball, it’s a tribute.
“As far as being humble and knowing where I come from, being from Akron, Ohio, a small town that most African-American kids don’t make it out of. So anytime I’m able to do something like that, I give it all back to my hometown and the kids that are just like me.”
Next on the scoring list for James to catch is fifth-place Wilt Chamberlain with 31,419 points. Michael Jordan, widely regarded as the best player in history, (32,292) is in fourth.