Detail in LeBron James photo sends NBA world into meltdown
LeBron James has been in the NBA for so long, even the way fans watch him live has changed drastically throughout his career.
The moment LeBron James became the NBA's all-time leading scorer has shown just how much basketball and its fans have changed throughout his career, with fans picking up on an amusing detail from the moment he took the record-breaking shot. James' 34 points against the OKC Thunder on Wednesday were enough to see him surpass basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the leading scorer in league history, with 38,390 points to his name.
James has been a central figure in the NBA ever since he was dubbed the 'chosen one' while still in high school, before being picked first in the 2003 NBA draft. Putting that into perspective, James made his first NBA Finals appearance with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2007 season, a year before Apple launched the first iPhone.
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Basketball fans were quick to pick up on the fact that nearly everybody in the stands had their phones out, hoping to capture James' moment in history as he surpassed the record. A lone fan can be seen sitting in a courtside seat on the baseline with nothing in his hands, simply enjoying the moment.
The images of thousands of fans holding up their phones was juxtaposed by another famous NBA image, that of Michael Jordan hitting the finals-winning shot against the Utah Jazz in the 1998 Finals - his last before he retired. In that image, before mobile photography had been developed, fans were transfixed on the moment Jordan shot the ball over Utah's Bryon Russell.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) February 8, 2023
No phones out vs all phones out pic.twitter.com/wmmbsOlF3y
— Randy Cruz (@randyjcruz) February 8, 2023
Nike founder Phil Knight witnessing history by the man he signed 20 years ago…
No phone necessary. pic.twitter.com/ptkFDcBcDt
— Front Office Sports (@FOS) February 8, 2023
Whatever part of LeBron’s career this happened in it would have been either flip phones, digital cameras or disposable cameras I don’t see why we complain about this https://t.co/F8eNmPJ5ky
— Kofie (@Kofie) February 8, 2023
The desire to record things like this for social media likes means that people don't truly live in the moment when history happens before their eyes.
The man sat there with no phone is Phil Knight, who signed LeBron 20 years ago to Nike.
Be more Phil. pic.twitter.com/dZYpeYXvAZ
— Dave Powell (@_DavePowell) February 8, 2023
Abdul-Jabbar penned an emotional tribute to LeBron James after embracing the legend who broke his fabled record as the leading points scorer in NBA history. The pair hugged at centre court in Los Angeles on Tuesday after 38-year-old James had eclipsed Abdul-Jabbar's mark of 38,387 career regular-season points on a fadeaway shot with 10.9 seconds remaining in the third quarter of the Lakers' 133-130 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Abdul-Jabbar opened the post by praising James' "unbelievable drive, dedication and talent" and also lauded his desire for winning while being a good teammate. The Basketball Hall of Fame member then addressed his feelings as James pulled closer to the record.
"In the months leading up to LeBron breaking my record, so much was written about how I would feel on the day he sank that record-breaking shot that I had to laugh," Abdul-Jabbar wrote. "I'd already written several times stating exactly how I felt, so there really wasn't much to speculate about.
"It's as if I won a billion dollars in a lottery, and 39 years later, someone won two billion dollars. How would I feel? Grateful that I won and happy that the next person also won. His winning in no way affects my winning."
LeBron James praised by prior NBA record holder Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
He then focused on former teammate Earvin "Magic" Johnson, who said he felt that Abdul-Jabbar would have a difficult time watching his record go by the boards. Abdul-Jabbar admitted that may have been the case shortly after his retirement - but not anymore.
Abdul-Jabbar also addressed his relationship with the 38-year-old James ... or lack thereof. "LeBron said we don't have a relationship. He's right — and for that I blame myself. Not for anything I did, but perhaps for not making more of an effort to reach out to him," Abdul-Jabbar wrote.
"By nature I have never been a chummy, reaching-out kind of guy (as the media was always quick to point out). I'm quiet, shy, and am such a devoted homebody that you'd think I have agoraphobia.
"I like to read, watch TV, listen to jazz. That's pretty much it. For the past 15 years my focus has been less on forming new relationships than on nurturing my old friendships with people like Magic, Michael Cooper, Jerry West, and so on."
Abdul-Jabbar closed his post by praising James, both as a basketball player and person. "Bottom line about LeBron and me: LeBron makes me love the game again. And he makes me proud to be part of an ever-widening group of athletes who actively care about their community."
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