CLEVELAND – Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for second place on the NBA’s all-time playoff scoring list with a three-pointer early in the third quarter.
James on Wednesday entered Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Toronto Raptors needing 25 points to pass Abdul-Jabbar (5,762 career playoff points).
“It proves that you’re a winner,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said before Game 2 when asked about the milestone. “Proves that you’re always in the playoffs and you’re always giving your team a chance or an opportunity to win. The more points you have in the playoffs, the further you’ve been and the more times you’ve been to the playoffs, so it’s a great achievement.”
While Abdul-Jabbar played in an era with fewer series and sometimes a best-of-5 in the first round, he appeared in 237 playoff games compared to 205 for James. Hall of Famer and former Chicago Bulls great Michael Jordan tops the list with 5,987 points, and James could pass Jordan by the end of this season’s playoffs if the Cavs play enough games.
Though James was not asked about passing Abdul-Jabbar, he has a stock answer for those type of questions. It goes like this:
“I’m truly blessed and honored to be in a position where I hold a record in this league that’s had so many great players and so many great teams throughout the years in the postseason,” James said. “I just want to continue to play the game the right way. If I do that, I give myself, my teammates and different guys and all the kids looking up to me for inspiration, it gives them hope. and that’s all that matters to me.”
That answer was in response to a question about James’ first-round success. But he has given similar answers over the years.