LeBron James has the NBA's all-time scoring record within reach
Thursday's highly anticipated matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets offered a potential preview of the 2021 NBA Finals.
Despite the loss, Thursday was a banner night for LeBron James, who met a milestone that few NBA players ever dream of reaching, joining Hall of Famers Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only members of the NBA's 35,000-point club.
And on Saturday, he began to chip away at his next milestone: catching Kareem.
Not only is LeBron the youngest player to cross this threshold, but he is also creating a league of his own, as he is the only NBA player to record 35,000 points, 9,000 assists and 9,000 rebounds.
Given that he has had a rather healthy career, being the youngest player to reach milestones is nothing new for James. The 5K, 10K, 20K, 30K and 35K clubs all welcomed James when he was at a younger age than his counterparts.
Abdul-Jabbar scored his 35,000th point at age 38 and in 1,323 games. Malone joined the club at age 39 and in 1,369 contests.
James became a member at age 36 and in 1,295 games.
Abdul-Jabbar leads all NBA scorers with 38,387 points, and Malone is second, with 36,928 career points.
How close is James to catching "The Mailman" and "Captain Skyhook"?
If he stays healthy and continues to score an average of 27 points per game, he could surpass Malone in about 71 games and Abdul-Jabbar in 124. That means a healthy LeBron could hold the all-time scoring record within the next two seasons.
James has made it no secret that he is looking to continue his career until his son, LeBron James Jr., enters the league.
Currently, the 15-year-old attends Sierra Canyon and has displayed high basketball IQ and the ability to be a great facilitator on the court. Given that he is a member of the Class of 2023, it would take two to three years for Bronny to make it to the NBA, depending on whether the one-and-done rule is abolished before he graduates from high school.
By that time, LeBron will be 40 and potentially on the cusp of retirement. However, some of the greats continued playing past the age of 40, including Michael Jordan, Abdul-Jabbar and Malone.
Regardless, becoming a member of an elite club at the professional level is an amazing achievement, one James feels honored to have attained.
If he manages to surpass Abdul-Jabbar on the all-time scoring list, his legacy will be cemented even further as an all-time great who is prepared to enter another club.
The Hall of Fame.