Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James overtakes Karl Malone to become the second highest scorer in the NBA

WASHINGTON — A cut in the basket and an undisputed leadership stop, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James became the NBA’s second-best scorer of all time Saturday night in the second quarter against the Washington Wizards.

James passed former Utah Jazz Hall of Fame Karl Malone’s all-time scorer with 5 minutes 20 seconds left in the quarter. The night went into needing 20 points to get ahead of The Mailman, who had 36,928 points in his 19-year career.

James finished with 38 points in a 127-119 loss, leaving him with 36,947 points in his career. This puts him 1,440 points behind former Lakers star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who has a record of 38,387 points.

There was some uncertainty over whether James would play on Saturday after he scored 45 minutes in the Toronto Raptors’ overtime win on Friday night. But James tested his knee before the match and was announced in the starting lineup shortly before a tip-off.

James was asked Friday night if he sees any similarities between him and Malone in that they are known for their longevity and physique.

“Sure,” James said. “Guys who have taken care of their bodies for the majority of their careers and have always wanted to be available for their teammates. The most important leadership for you is trying to be as on the ground as possible. I think he and I, we’ve always tried to dress up and play and stay in shape and try to stay in Good health, staying away from injuries as much as possible, and also being productive on the ground. So, yeah, definitely.”

James, 37, has entered the game with an average of 29.7 points this season, third in the NBA behind Philadelphia 76ers Joel Embiid (30.0) and Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmou (29.8).

But James said he is focused on trying to win more games as the Lakers struggle for a place to play.

“Winning is the most important thing to me and the most important thing to me always,” James said. “But the only thing I have been able to do is to keep the game cheerful. I understand we have a lot of losses this season and whatever the case may be. But the fun of the match and being out there and competing is so much fun.

“And the frustration of losing and things like that, obviously, in the heat of battle, you feel it that way; but it’s a pleasure to play the game, and a pleasure to go out there and play at that level at this point in my career. , so I still had a blast.”