LeBron James is now the NBA’s all-time leading scorer in postseason history.
With a three pointer late in the third quarter of Thursday’s Game 5 matchup with the Boston Celtics, James surpassed Michael Jordan (5,987 points) and now sits all alone atop the leaderboard.
James passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for second on the all-time list earlier this month during his team’s second round series with the Toronto Raptors.
By propelling himself into first place, James can most likely expect to be there for quite awhile. The next closest active player is Tony Parker at 4,012 points and then Dwyane Wade at 3,871 — however, both Parker and Wade are 35-years-old and are at at the tail ends of their playing careers.
Kevin Durant — 29th on the list at 2,872 — is seemingly the closest player still in the prime of his career.
James was able to reach the milestone in his 212th career playoff game, while Jordan racked up his 5,987 points in just 179 playoff appearances. James, however, is only playing in his 12th postseason while Jordan played in 13.
In those 211 playoff games, James has averaged 28.2 ppg, 8.8 rpg, and 6.8 assists. Jordan, meanwhile, averaged 33.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg, and 5.7 assists over the course of his postseason career.
At 32-years-old, it’s unclear how much longer James will continue to play and at what level, but it should be noted that in this year’s playoffs, he’s averaging his highest ppg total (32.3) since 2009 (35.3).
And if you take his average total points scored in his first 11 postseasons (not counting this current run) — approximately 507 — and give him a minimum five more years at this level (the rest of the Eastern Conference prays), one could figure James would add about 2,500 more points to his total, finishing close to 9,000 career playoff points. That number also factors in all the points he’s yet to score in this year’s NBA Finals.
Would Kevin Durant ever be able to catch up?
The 28-year-old is averaging about 437 points per postseason, not including this year. Let’s afford him another eight years of play at this spectacular level — that adds up to an additional 3,500 points. Combine that with his current total and Durant could end up around 6,400 points for his playoff career– about 2,500 away from James.
That’d be no slight to Durant as that’d put him second on the league’s all-time playoff scoring list, but he — like many others before him and many of those still to come — will be left only to look up at the one they call King James and his throne atop that leaderboard.