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As LeBron James enters his 17th NBA season, Bleacher Report is taking a look at where the four-time MVP sits in the history books in several statistical categories now, after his projected 2019-20 season and following the remainder of his Hall of Fame career.
Already near the top of the all-time leaderboards in numerous categories, James has passed some of the game’s greatest players, and even more legends are about to be bumped down the rankings. Here’s where the series stands:
Part I: James’ total regular-season and postseason minutes
Part II: James’ total blocks, steals and rebounds
Part III: James’ total assists and turnovers
Part IV: James’ advanced stats, including PER, win shares, VORP and box plus/minus
Part V: James’ total three-pointers and free throws
In Part VI of All the King’s Records, we look at where James could finish his career in total points and field goals.
Points: 2019-20 and Future Projections
When predicting James’ stats both for this season and beyond, I’ve based his numbers on 71 games played per season, as that’s the average amount of time he’s spent on the court over the past five years. That allows him to miss 11 contests per year for injury or rest.
His final career projections for all stats came under the assumption he’ll play five more years, meaning a retirement at age 39 following 21 total seasons.
Perhaps the most interesting NBA record—more than games played, rebounds, assists or even titles themselves—is total points.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has held this record since April 5, 1984, when one of his patented sky hooks pushed him past Wilt Chamberlain for first all time. Since that night, Abdul-Jabbar added 6,966 points before he retired, raising his record mark to 38,387.
To reach that total, it took Abdul-Jabbar 1,560 games over 20 seasons, and he became the first player in NBA history at that time to play for two full decades.
While players like Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan came close, James has the best chance of any to top Abdul-Jabbar.
James already sits No. 4 overall after 16 seasons, and he passed Jordan on the all-time scoring list in March. He now trails only Bryant, Malone and Abdul-Jabbar, in that order.
Like Bryant, James had the advantage of entering the NBA straight out of high school and could begin accumulating stats at age 18. Abdul-Jabbar played three years at UCLA, and Malone spent three at Louisiana Tech.
While James began his career as the focal point and leading scorer for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Bryant only started seven total games during his first two seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, averaging just 11.7 points per game.
Despite this slow start, Bryant still had a chance at passing Abdul-Jabbar for first place before tearing his Achilles in 2013 at age 35. He would go on to play just 107 total games over the next three seasons.
For James, getting this early lead over Bryant in scoring is one thing—maintaining his health is another.
Because of his early entrance and high usage in the NBA, James has consistently been the youngest in history to reach every significant scoring plateau. His latest major milestone was the 30,00