LeBron James overtakes Kobe Bryant for third in playoff scoring

ByDave McMenamin ESPN logo
Friday, April 21, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS -- LeBron James might have some work left to do to catch Kobe Bryant's five championships, but he now has eclipsed the former Los Angeles Lakers star in another statistical category that defined Bryant's career: playoff points.

With James' and-one shot in the lane and ensuing free throw with 7:26 left in the second quarter of theCleveland Cavaliers' 119-114 win in Game 3 of their first-round series against the Indiana Pacers on Thursday, James eclipsed Bryant for third place on the NBA's all-time postseason scoring list. The old-fashioned three-point play gave James 13 points for the game and 5,641 points for his playoff career. He finished with 41 points in the win.

James now trails only Michael Jordan (5,987 points) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (5,762) in playoff scoring.

James reached the mark in his 202nd career playoff game. Bryant played a total of 220.

James, a 14-year veteran, is seventh in regular-season scoring with 28,787 points. Bryant, who retired last season after his 20th year in the league, is third in regular-season scoring with 33,643 points.

James also Thursday night passed Bryant for fourth place on the all-time playoff 3-pointers list.

When Bryant announced his intent to retire in November 2015, James spoke of the impact the fellow prep-to-pros baller Bryant had on his career.

"It was someone that I always knew I had to be in the gym," James said. "I knew I had to be better because of Kobe Bryant. I knew he was in the gym, and I knew he was working on his game. And I knew he was great. So every day that I didn't want to work out or every day I felt like I couldn't give more, I always thought of Kobe. Because I knew that he was getting better and I was like, 'Man, if you take a day off, he's going to take advantage of it. You cannot take a day off. You cannot take a day off.' And I used him for my motivation throughout my career because I always knew that he was working on something. So that part will be missed a little bit."

James also passed Wes Unseld for seventh on the all-time playoff rebounding list with his fourth board on Thursday. James ranks third in playoff assists, trailing only Magic Johnson and John Stockton. He also ranks third in playoff steals, trailing Scottie Pippen and Jordan.

James ranks 21st in playoff blocks; however, he is first in playoff blocks for a wing player. Pippen is second.

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