Lebron James’ legacy serves as an inspiration to Moorpark College basketball team

The Los Angeles Lakers host the Philadelphia 76ers on Jan. 16, 2023 at the Crypto.com Arena. Photo credit: Briana Cruz

The Los Angeles Lakers host the Philadelphia 76ers on Jan. 16, 2023 at the Crypto.com Arena. Photo credit: Briana Cruz

By Briana Cruz

Last month, a record-breaking night took place when the Los Angeles Lakers played a home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

On Feb. 7, Lebron James led the Lakers team in a mid-season game at the Crypto.com Arena. Expectations were high for 38-year-old James as he was close to breaking a significant National Basketball Association record.

James has played over 20 years in the NBA, and in the past five years, he has signed with the Los Angeles Lakers. In 2020, James led the Lakers to victory in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic and the tragic death of Lakers icon Kobe Bryant.

James’ steadfast leadership and basketball successes has carried on into the 2022-2023 season. According to ESPN, James has averaged 30 points in 44 games played. He has also averaged 8.5 rebounds and seven assists per game.

Prior to entering his career-altering game on Feb. 7, James was 36 points away from breaking the NBA’s all-time scoring record, which was previously held by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Abdul-Jabbar, retired Lakers player, had held the record for 39 years.

Abdul-Jabbar’s longstanding record was broken by James in the third quarter of the Feb. 7 matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder. With approximately 11 seconds left in the quarter, James went for a fadeaway shot that scored his 36th point and brought his all-time career point total to 38,388. It was this moment that broke the all-time NBA scoring record, debunking Abdul-Jabbar and placing James at the very top of the scoring list.

Abdul-Jabbar was in attendance and witnessed this historic moment. Referees paused the game to honor both James and Abdul-Jabbar, who stepped out onto the court and shook James’ hand. After the celebration, the final quarter ensued, and the Lakers ended up losing the game, 133-130. However, James’ individual success overshadowed the actual results of the game.

After the game, James was overcome with emotion as he reflected on his accomplishment.

“Everybody that’s ever been a part of this run with me the last 20-plus years, I just want to say I thank you so much, because I wouldn’t be me without y’all,” James said.

His recent record sits alongside his four MVP titles and four championships. According to ESPN, James is also sitting fourth on the all-time assists list. Following the Feb. 7 game, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, released a statement about James’ new record.

“It’s a towering achievement that speaks to his sustained excellence over 20 seasons in the league,” Silver’s stated, “And quite amazingly, LeBron continues to play at an elite level and his basketball history is still being written,”

With the end of the 2022-2023 basketball season rapidly approaching, James looks to be in the running for the coveted MVP award, which he has already received four times.

Basketball fans and players around the United States have avidly watched Lebron James’ career and are now keenly aware of his famed legacy. 20 years later from when he was first drafted at just 18-years-old, James continues to push the boundaries of this internationally endeared sport.

The recent news of James’ achievement came at around the same time that the Moorpark College men’s basketball team wrapped up its 2022-2023 season. The team finished its season with a 17-12 record.

Many of the Moorpark College men’s basketball team members watched it live when James broke the NBA’s all-time scoring record. Freshman guard Jack Benyshek commented on James’ feat and his resulting legacy.

“I think it’s inspiring to see a record that was supposed to be “unbreakable” be broken,” Benyshek said. “We were able to witness history and see an all time great player accomplish it.”

James and the Los Angeles Lakers are making a run for the NBA playoffs, which will begin on April 11. Meanwhile, James’ impact on the Lakers and Los Angeles as a whole is widely acknowledged by the basketball community as he continues his legacy as “the kid from Akron.