Which NBA Records Is LeBron James Still Chasing?

LeBron James wrote his name in another chapter of the NBA annals as he became only the third player in league history to score at least 35,000 points during the regular season in his career.

The four-time NBA champion reached the milestone with two free throws towards the end of the second quarter of the Los Angeles Lakers' 109-98 home loss against the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone in one of the NBA's most exclusive clubs.

James' 32 points against the Nets took his career tally to 35,017, becoming the youngest player in NBA history to score at least 35,000 points. He was also the youngest player to reach 5,000 points, 10,000 points, 20,000 points and 30,000 points.

While he remains comfortably behind Abdul-Jabbar's all-time record of 38,387 points and Malone's 36,928, James could overtake both depending on whether he remains fit and how long he plans to continue to play until he retires.

In 19 seasons in the NBA, Malone averaged 25 points over the course of 1,476 games. James, meanwhile, has scored an average of 27 points per game in the 1,295 games he has played in his 17 seasons in the league.

Should he keep up that scoring pace, James will need 70.7 games to reach Malone's record. The Lakers have 42 games left to play in the current regular season, meaning James could realistically become the NBA's second-most prolific scorer at some point next season.

Reaching Abdul-Jabbar's record, however, will take far longer. The 19-time All-Star scored averaged 24.6 points over 1,560 games during 20 seasons in the NBA and James, at his current scoring average, will need just under 125 games to reach the six-time NBA champion's record.

That means James could become the NBA's all-time leader in points scored early in the 2022-23 campaign, just a few months short of his 38th birthday, as long as he remains injury-free over the current season and the next and continues to score at the same pace.

With this free throw, LeBron James becomes the 3rd player in NBA history to reach 35,000 career points, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone!

Watch on TNT pic.twitter.com/UWaz1fnqFn

— NBA (@NBA) February 19, 2021

Assuming the next two seasons will be played over the traditional 82-game format—the current season was reduced to 72 games due to the coronavirus pandemic—James will almost certainly finish his career in the all-time top-10 for most games played.

The leader among current players in that particular metric, James is 115 games behind Jason Terry's tally of 1,410 career games, which is currently the 10th highest in NBA history.

Excluding the current season, James has played an average of 74.4 games per season, meaning he could add just under 149 games over the next two seasons alone if he sees out the two-year extensions worth $85 million he signed in December last year.

That would take his career tally to 1,444, which would make him the player with the ninth-highest number of regular season games under his belt in league history.

With another 42 games left this season, however, the tally will probably be in the region of 1,480, which would see the 36-year-old overtake Malone in sixth place on the list.

Should James keep up his average 74.4 games per season over the next two years, he will rank as third in the all-time list of more assists in league history. The four-time NBA Finals MVP has averaged 7.4 assists per game in his career, a pace which would see him add more than 1,100 assists over the next two campaigns.

That would be enough to make James one of only six NBA players to dish out at least 10,000 career assists and vault him above Steve Nash in third place in the all-time list for most assists.

The active player with the most career assists and minutes played, James also leads current players in field goal attempts, free throw attempts and free throws made and ranks second and third in steals and rebounds respectively.

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts to a play during the second quarter of the game against the Brooklyn Nets at Staples Center on February 18 in Los Angeles, California. Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty