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LeBron James Honors Kobe Bryant as Lakers Star Passes Retired Legend on NBA's All-Time Scoring List

Jason Duaine Hahn
LeBron James Honors Kobe Bryant as Lakers Star Passes Retired Legend on NBA's All-Time Scoring List

From the start of LeBron James‘ career, he’s been compared to Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, two of the most accomplished players to ever pick up a basketball.

On Saturday, James, 35, surpassed both of the NBA legends on one highly-coveted list.

The Los Angeles Lakers star moved ahead of Bryant (33,643 points) to become the third-leading scorer in NBA history, just ten months after he passed Jordan (32,292) for fourth on the list of the league’s all-time points leaders.

James, who paid tribute to Bryant with special Nike shoes, entered Saturday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers just 18 points shy of third-place.

There are now only two players ahead of James on the list: Karl Malone with 36,928 points, and Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, with 38,387 points.

On Saturday, Bryant congratulated James on his latest milestone.

“On to #2 @kingjames! Keep growing the game and charting the path for the next,” the retired star shared on Instagram.

“Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother 💪🏾 #33644,” Bryant tweeted.

Bryant, who sat courtside during a handful of Lakers games this season, praised James for coming to Los Angeles and giving the franchise a chance to potentially win its 17th championship.

“When LeBron came to Los Angeles, he is now a Laker, he is part of our brotherhood, part of our fraternity, and we should embrace him that way,” Bryant, 41, recently told the Los Angeles Times. “You got to celebrate… appreciate what he is as an athlete while he is here. Appreciate this guy, celebrate what he’s done because it’s truly remarkable.”

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The Lakers, led by James and Anthony Davis, currently hold the second-best record in the NBA.

And when it comes to any perceived rivalry between the two NBA greats, Bryant said he is completely content to see James pass him on the scoring list.

“I don’t know if people want that or want to have this kind of contentious thing where you don’t want records to be broken or people there to surpass you,” Bryant told USA Today. “You should be happy for the person that comes after you to be able to surpass things that you’ve done. It’s kind of juvenile to think or to behave any other way.”

Kobe Bryant and LeBron James | Dan MacMedan/Getty; Atiba Jefferson/NBAE via Getty

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When James passed Jordan — widely considered the best basketball player of all-time — on the scoring list in March 2019, he opened up about how much the moment meant to him.

“I watched him from afar, wanted to be like M.J., wanted to shoot fadeaways like M.J., wanted to stick my tongue out on dunks like M.J., wanted to wear my sneakers like M.J.,” he said at the time. “I wanted kids to look up to me at some point like M.J., and it’s crazy, to be honest.”

Earlier this week, Jordan, 56, discussed the comparisons between him and James over the years.

“He’s an unbelievable player. He’s one of the best players in the world, if not the best player in the world,” he said, according to CBS Sports. “I know its a natural tendency to compare eras to eras and it’s going to continue to happen. I’m a fan of his, I love watching him play.”

“As you can see, our league is starting to expand on very talented players. I think he’s made his mark, he will continue to do so,” Jordan added. “But when you start the comparisons, I think it is what it is. It’s just a stand-up measurement. I take it with a grain of salt. He’s a heck of a basketball player without a doubt.”