James needed 13 points to pass Jordan for fourth on the all-time scoring list and got it with a baseline shot in the second quarter of Wednesday's game against the Denver Nuggets.
With James playing alongside four youngsters who came in with a combined 200 games of National Basketball Association experience compared to LeBron's 1,190, the Lakers almost rallied from a 23-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
As a result, Jordan's praise will always be, and rightfully should be, at a minimum considering the competitor that still lives within him.
"Wanted to be like MJ, wanted to shoot fadeaways like MJ, wanted to stick my tongue out on dunks like MJ, wanted to wear my sneakers like MJ". I wanted kids to look up to me at some point like M.J., and it's insane, to be honest.
The debate will continue about who is the best of all time, which is an endless discussion, but those on James' side have statistics to back up their argument. The left groin ailment cost James 17 games and the Lakers' season. "He was like lightning in a bottle for me".
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The four-time NBA MVP is averaging 27.1 points, 8.6 rebounds and 8.0 assists over 47 games during his first season with the Lakers.
James hit the free throw to finish the three-point play and ended his night with 31 points. Kobe Bryant scored 33,643 points over his 20-year career, leaving James 1,332 points behind.
"It was a pretty awesome moment", Lakers coach Luke Walton said.
Los Angeles isn't making the playoffs and playing LeBron heavy minutes is just going to put more miles on a body that's been through quite a lot.