LeBron James ranks the “beyond crazy” achievement of passing his inspiration Michael Jordan on the all-time list of NBA points scorers as “right up there” with the best of his career.
The four-time MVP added 31 points to his tally in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 115-99 defeat to the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday to better Jordan’s total of 32,292.
James is now the fourth-highest scorer in NBA history and the Lakers superstar had to pinch himself after eclipsing the legendary Jordan’s mark.
“A lot of stuff that I’ve done in my career…this ranks right up there at the top,” he said.
“For a kid from Akron, Ohio needing inspiration, needing some type of positive influence, MJ was that guy for me.
“I watched him from afar, 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 MJ. It’s beyond crazy.
“Why it is so crazy to me right now seeing where I’m at in the scoring of all-time greats in the game of basketball, because I’ve never been about scoring.”
James added: “Me and my best friends, all we talk about is MJ. Outdoor court we would play in the snow, in the rain in north-east Ohio and we all wanted to be MJ.
“Every last one of us wanted to be MJ. My high school best friends they text me, they cannot believe it, I cannot believe it because we just remember walking up and down Akron streets singing ‘I wanna be, I wanna be like Mike’.
“When you are an inner-city kid from Akron, Ohio growing up you look for anything that can inspire you, because you are always put up against the numbers of failure.
“The numbers of guys like myself; single-parent household, only child, underprivileged making it out is not high at all.
“MJ had a lot to do with me making it out along with my mother, along with the city itself, along with the lower-league coaches. Mike had no idea he was doing when he was growing up a 45-minute flight from Chicago.”