LeBron James has become the fifth highest points scorer in NBA history, passing Wilt Chamberlain, as he bagged 44 points in the Los Angeles Lakers126-117 triumph over the Portland Trailblazers.
The 33-year-old beat Chamberlain’s record of 31,419 points with a free throw late in the fourth quarter that takes his career points to 31,425.
James’ season-high 44 points was the highest score by a Lakers player since Kobe Bryant’s 60 in his final game in April 2016.
Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers legend Chamberlain, a four-time most valuable player, won two NBA championships, in 1967 and 1972, in his 14-year career, and remains the only player to have scored 100 points in an NBA game.
“Anytime my name is mentioned with some of the greats to play the game, I always think back to my hometown where I have come from and how far I’ve come,” said James, who joined the Lakers as a free agent in July on a four-year deal worth $154m (£116m).
“He [Chamberlain] is one of the most dominant forces we have ever had in our game along with Shaq [Shaquille O’Neal]. He is one of the greatest Lakers to ever play the game, one of greatest scorers and rebounders ever.
“People had never seen someone like that in that era. He was dominant in all walks of life, not just basketball.”
A four-time MVP, James has won three NBA titles, two at Miami Heat and one at Cleveland Cavaliers in his 15-year career and is considered one of the greatest ever to grace the sport.