LeBron James broke the all-time NBA scoring record last night, passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's career point total of a whopping 38,387 points.
The undeniably incredible accomplishment is simply another cherry on top of James' once-in-a-generation career, and James has hardly shown any signs of slowing down, meaning he's likely to add to his record in seasons to come.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) February 8, 2023
The immediate aftermath of LeBron's record-breaking performance found fellow athletes and celebrities congratulating James, while some media figures offered their hagiographic praises of arguably the greatest basketball player of all time.
Bad Bunny congratulates LeBron James after Bron becomes the NBA all-time scoring leader
"LA CABRA! LA CABRA!" 🐐🐐🐐 pic.twitter.com/s85HwzKkrO
— Rob Lopez (@r0bato) February 8, 2023
Celebrities congratulates LeBron James 🤴🏾 pic.twitter.com/PbtVS3suyj
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) February 8, 2023
Drake congratulates LeBron 😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/FptrJ8GwuN
— Tavio Thrower 🏀 (@TavioThrowerNBA) February 8, 2023
Of course, while the majority of the world applauded James' accomplishment, there were plenty of capital-H capital-T Hot Takes that ignited social media in the wake of James breaking the record. Some grumps and Scrooges of the sports world took the occasion of James becoming the leading all-time scorer in NBA history to claim that James is not that good, actually, and still can't be considered the greatest of all time over Michael Jordan.
The first hater out of the gate was ESPN commentator Skip Bayless, a career LeBron doubter, who fired off a list of statistics to support his argument for why Jordan was better than James.
LeBron has played 338 more games than MJ did. Yet MJ won 10 scoring titles to LBJ's 1. MJ: 3 steals titles to LBJ's 0. MJ: DPOY & 9-time 1st team all D to LBJ's 5. MJ 5-4 in MVPs. MJ 6-0 in Finals, 6 MVPs. MJ averaged 8 assists in '89. MJ FTs 84% to LBJ's 74. MJ: RUNAWAY GOAT.
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) February 8, 2023
This was perfectly on brand for lifelong James hater Bayless, and he was thoroughly roasted by many online for pooh-poohing James on his big night.
— Leroy Hoard (@BigMouthLeroy) February 8, 2023
You’re the LeBron James of being a hater ironically https://t.co/aYZTWesus3
— That Rabbit Guy (@Son_ImSleep) February 8, 2023
This dude don’t want nobody to feel good about accomplishing anything! Shut up and let this man have his moment. https://t.co/IBa4g0LhzW pic.twitter.com/kUDBBiC2TB
— RipCityDjango (@RipCityDjango) February 8, 2023
Twitter user @RandyJCruz took a different approach to sour the moment by pointing out how in an iconic Michael Jordan photo, the crowd had no phones taking pictures, while in James' photo, nearly everyone in their crowd had their phones out.
No phones out vs all phones out pic.twitter.com/wmmbsOlF3y
— Randy Cruz (@randyjcruz) February 8, 2023
It looked to many like Cruz was doing an unironic recreation of the "not a cellphone in sight moment," though he attempted to clarify that he was merely pointing out the difference in technology today vs. technology 25 years ago.
Nevertheless, it seemed a bizarre observation to many, as camera phones hadn't been invented in 1998 (the time of Jordan's iconic shot). Furthermore, one would expect the crowd to be deeply engaged with the action at the end of an NBA Finals game vs. hoping to catch a photo of James potentially breaking a career scoring record in the middle of a relatively meaningless regular season game.
Crazy, almost as if 25 years passed https://t.co/bx0CCq7ZEE
— Dan Duarte (@danduarte1) February 8, 2023
No phones out vs all phones out https://t.co/rlc3jNWvfp pic.twitter.com/WmbznB9fGD
— Jay Dunnah, Esq. (@JDunnah) February 8, 2023
Cell phone in ‘98 https://t.co/lkxbmtEGY0 pic.twitter.com/zThv0bDGfj
— ya momma’s favorite (@sheltdaddy_) February 8, 2023
The question of whether LeBron James truly is the greatest basketball player of all time will likely never be settled, but perhaps the beauty of sports, in general, is that even during the most special moments, people will always find a way to be a hater.
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