In his 19th season in the NBA, LeBron James is breaking just about every career record he can break. Fox Sports analyst Nick Wright believes James will retire with most career records, just as Wilt Chamberlain has all the single-game records.
James is second in career scoring (36,985 points) after scoring 38 points in a loss against the Washington Wizards. He passed Karl Malone (36,928) on Saturday night and now has only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) in front of him. With James still playing at a high level at 37 years old, he can catch Abdul-Jabbar next season.
Because of all the career records James has broken, Wright believes James should almost stand outside of the regular record book, similar to how Chamberlain is seen for single-game records. On Wright’s podcast, “What’s Wright? with Nick Wright,” he said:
“What I know is, when it is all said and done, there is an NBA record book, and then there is a non-Wilt record book. Because Wilt has all the single-game stuff. … For any individual records, individual games, you almost have to set Wilt aside. LeBron is going to do the exact same thing for the regular record book.
“There is going to be the non-LeBron record book.”
Even though there isn’t a second record book excluding Chamberlain, people may still make that separation in their minds. Chamberlain holds so many single-game records that just can’t be broken, such as 100 points and 50 rebounds in a game.
James might be in the same category. That’s because the chances of someone being dominant for 19 years, and probably a few more (for James), are very slim. He is still putting up 30-point triple-doubles, just like he did 10 years ago, which is insane and a testament to James’ legend.
How could the rest of LeBron James’ career map out?
It is hard to tell how long LeBron James might continue to play. He has one more year on his deal with the LA Lakers and seems to be avoiding Father Time as he could win his second scoring title this season.
So far, there is no reason why James would slow down next season, when he will push to become the NBA’s all-time scoring leader. He needs 1,403 points to pass Abdul-Jabbar and has surpassed that total in all 18 full seasons of his career. He had 1,126 points in last season’s pandemic-shortened season. His career season low is 1,505 points when he played 55 games in 2018-19.
After that, it is up to James. He has said he could go back to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are building a contender and could use James in two seasons. He has also said he intends to play the final year of his career alongside his son, Bronny James, in 2024.
Only one other player, Vince Carter, has played in 22 NBA seasons.
The rest of James’ career holds a lot of questions. But by the time he retires, he will have many of the NBA’s career records.