CLEVELAND — LeBron James moved past Dominique Wilkins, aka “The Human Highlight Film,” for 12th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list Thursday night.
James converted an and-one layup with 3:52 remaining in the first quarter of the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ game against the Brooklyn Nets, giving him six points for the game and moving him past Wilkins’ 26,668-point career total.
“I’ve been very durable throughout my career and I’ve played with some great teammates and two great organizations through all my career that allowed me to put the ball in the basket,” James said after shootaround Thursday morning when asked about approaching Wilkins on the list.
“They’ve set screens for me, they gave me passes in transition, they’ve set me up offensively, and I’ve been able to come through for my teammates, so this results in that being the case.”
The Cavs play the Hawks tomorrow in Atlanta, where Wilkins currently serves as a color analyst for the team’s broadcast. The coincidental scheduling prompted a reporter to jokingly ask at shootaround if James would willingly snap his streak of 711 straight games with 10 or more points and purposely score three or less against the Nets to be able to pass Wilkins with him present.
“Nah,” James said with a smile. “I’m not allowed to do that. I got to help my team win and me scoring two (points) is not good ingredients for that.”
This season, James has moved from 18th in all-time scoring to 12th, passing the likes of Jerry West, Reggie Miller, Alex English, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Tim Duncan and John Havlicek. Next up: Oscar Robertson, who ranks 11th with 26,710 points and, like James, was a multitalented player who spent part of his pro basketball career in Ohio.
“It’s a guy I’ve always kind of looked up to as far as his game and what he stood for off the floor as well,” James said of Robertson. “So, anytime I’m linked with the ‘Big O,’ it’s always special for me personally.”
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue saluted James for putting his name in the same conversation as Hall of Famers Wilkins and Robertson.
“Any time you can be compared and you can pass two greats, it’s always a very good accomplishment,” Lue said. “It just shows the hard work that LeBron’s put in over his career to get to those points.”