Not all records are made to be broken.
But, sometimes, even those long believed to be unbreakable are topped. That was the case on Tuesday when LeBron James became the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, scoring his 38,388th career point to break the record that had been held by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for nearly four decades.
With every point that James scores over the remainder of his NBA career, a new record will be set.
That could also soon be the case for every goal scored by Alex Ovechkin. The Washington Capitals star is closing in on the hallowed NHL scoring record held by Wayne Gretzky that was once thought to be permanently in place in the record books.
Here’s a look at other notable sports records that could be broken next.
Alex Ovechkin - NHL All-Time Leading Scorer
“The Great 8” is not far behind “The Great One.” Alex Ovechkin has scored 32 goals this season, including the 800th of his career to become just the third player in NHL history to reach the milestone. With 812 goals over his 18-year career, Ovechkin trails Wayne Gretzky’s all-time record of 894 goals by 82. If he remains healthy and continues to find the back of the net at his usual rate, he could break the record during the 2023-2024 season.
Bill Belichick - NFL All-Time Head Coaching Wins
Bill Belichick already has won more Super Bowls than any other head coach in NFL history with six. He’s now aiming for the head-coaching wins record. The 70-year-old Belichick, who has 298 head coaching victories, currently sits third on the all-time list. He trails former Chicago Bears coach George Halas, who had 318 wins, and former Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula, who holds the record with 328 wins. Belichick needs 30 more wins to tie the mark, but has posted losing records in two of his last three seasons with the New England Patriots.
Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce - Most Playoff Touchdowns by Duo
This record could fall as early as Sunday. Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs have connected for 13 postseason touchdowns during their careers. With three more, either in the Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday or in the future, they’ll break the NFL record for most playoff touchdowns by a quarterback and pass-catching duo. Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski hold the record with 15 touchdowns. Mahomes and Kelce moved past Joe Montana and Jerry Rice during the AFC Championship Game in January with their 13th TD. Kelce has 15 career postseason touchdown receptions, which is tied with Gronkowski for second-most all-time. They trail only Jerry Rice, who had 22.
U.S. Women's National Team - First Soccer Team to Win Three Straight World Cups
The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team is going for the World Cup threepeat. That has never been done before, in women’s or men’s soccer. Their quest for a third-straight title will begin in July when the World Cup begins in Australia and New Zealand. The USWNT became the second women’s team to repeat as World Cup champion, joining Germany, which did so in 2003 and 2007. Only two men’s teams have won back-to-back titles, Italy in 1934 and 1938 and Brazil in 1958 and 1962.
LeBron James - NBA Finals All-Time Scoring Leader
LeBron James is chasing another NBA scoring record. The league’s recently-crowned all-time leading scorer likely needs one more deep postseason run to set the record for most career points in the NBA Finals. He currently has scored 1,562 points in 10 Finals appearances. He needs 117 points to break the record held by Los Angeles Lakers legend Jerry West, who scored 1,679 points in nine finals appearances.
LeBron James - Most NBA Seasons and Games Played
You don’t break the all-time scoring record without sticking around for a long time. A really long time. LeBron James is currently in his 20th NBA season, having started his career at 18 years old in 2003. The 38-year old needs to play two more seasons to match the record held by Vince Carter. If he does so and remains healthy, he’ll also approach the mark for most NBA games played, which is currently held by Robert Parish with 1,611. James, through his record-breaking performance on Tuesday, has played in 1,410 games.
Katie Ledecky - Most Olympic Gold Medals For Female Swimmers
Katie Ledecky breaks records and then goes on to break her own records. So, it’s no surprise that she is just two gold medals away from setting the mark for most Olympic individual gold medals for female swimmers. Having already won seven golds, she trails fellow American Jenny Thompson, who owns the most gold medals among female swimmers with eight. Thompson has 12 total medals, which is tied with Dara Torres for most all-time in female swimming. Ledecky, with 10 total medals, will also be aiming for that record during the 2024 summer Olympics in Paris.
TBD - NFL Single-Season Receiving Yards
Wideouts have been threatening to break the single-season receiving yards record of 1,964 set in 2012 by Detroit Lions great Calvin Johnson since 2012. The Los Angeles Rams’ Cooper Kupp was just 17 yards shy in 2021 when he finished with 1,947. The Minnesota Vikings’ Justin Jefferson was on his way to topping the record in 2022 before being held to five catches for 53 yards over his final two games to finish 155 yards short with 1,809. Seems only a matter of time before the record falls in the pass-happy era.
Messi, Mbappe - Most World Cup Goals
Lionel Messi had a storybook ending to his World Cup career…if it was in fact the end, that is. The 35-year-old Argentina captain finally captured an elusive World Cup title in 2022, adding the final missing accolade to his resume. Having already played in more World Cup matches than any other player with 26, he hasn’t ruled out adding to that total in 2026 when he’ll be nearly 40 years old. With 13 career World Cup goals, he needs four more to break the all-time record held by Germany’s Miroslav Klose, who scored 16 from 2002 to 2014. Even if Messi does return, it might be another soccer star who breaks the record first. France’s Kylian Mbappe already has scored 12 World Cup goals in 14 matches and is just 24 years old.
Serena Williams - Most Women’s Grand Slam Titles
Serena Williams is retired…for now. The 41-year-old tennis legend hasn’t entirely ruled out making a comeback at some point, having played her last match during the U.S. Open in September. The possibility of matching the all-time record for most women’s Grand Slam titles could be too tempting to resist. Williams won her 23rd major title at the 2017 Australian Open to move within one win of women’s Grand Slam record holder Margaret Court, who won 24 majors between 1960 and 1973. Williams already holds the women’s Open-era Grand Slam record.
Albert Pujols (if he comes out of retirement) - Most RBIs in MLB History
Hank Aaron’s all-time MLB record of 2,297 RBIs may not be as revered as his former record of 755 home runs. But it’s just as impressive. And Albert Pujols was very close to breaking it. The St. Louis Cardinals slugger finished his 22nd season in October with 2,218 career RBIs. Then he retired, just 79 RBIs away from setting the new mark. We’ll see if the 43-year-old, who had 68 RBIs in 109 games last season, reconsiders retirement.
Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers - Most NBA Titles
Both the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers each have 17 NBA championships, which is tied for the most all-time. So, there’s only one way to settle this and set the new mark: Celtics versus Lakers in the NBA Finals. The Celtics are doing their part, the Lakers not so much.
- Golfer Bernhard Langer, with 44 career victories on the PGA Champions Tour, is two wins away from breaking Hale Irwin’s record for most all time.
- Skier Mikaela Shiffrin needs two more World Cup wins to top the overall record for women and men that is held by Ingemar Stenmark.
- Tennis star Novak Djokovic has won 86 matches at Wimbledon, which is approaching Roger Federer’s record of 105. Reigning two-time NBA MVP
- Nikola Jokic - who is averaging 24.7 points, 11.3 rebounds and 10.2 assists this season - has a chance to become the first center in league history to lead the league in assists per game...and average a triple-double for the season.
- Tiger Woods - who has been hampered by recent injuries, including serious leg injuries sustained in a 2021 car accident - needs four major championship wins to break Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 victories.