The symmetry made the moment — LeBron James passing Kobe Bryant for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list — even more special.
It is classic NBA rivalry that goes back decades and involves some of the league’s greatest and most revered players — the Los Angeles Lakers against the Philadelphia 76ers — and the game Saturday was played in Philadelphia, Bryant’s hometown.
And with 7:23 in the third quarter, James’ driving layup gave him 33,644 points and pushed him ahead of Bryant (33,643) for No. 3 on the scoring list, behind just Karl Malone (36,928) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387).
The Sixers called timeout to acknowledge the moment, and James received a standing ovation from fans. He finished the night with 29 points and 33,655 for his career, but the Sixers used a late surge to defeat the Lakers 108-91.
And there was brotherly love with Bryant. “I don’t know if people want that or want to have this kind of contentious thing where you don’t want records to be broken or people there to surpass you. You should be happy for the person that comes after you to be able to surpass things that you’ve done. It’s kind of juvenile to think or to behave any other way.”