LeBron James moved closer to becoming the NBA's all-time leading scorer after finishing with 27 points in the Los Angeles Lakers' 131-126 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday at Smoothie King Center.
The 38-year-old finds himself 36 points away from passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's current record of 38,387. Warriors coach Steve Kerr marveled at James' ability to stay healthy season after season since entering the NBA in 2003.
"Pretty amazing," Kerr told reporters on Saturday before the Warriors' contest against the Dallas Mavericks. "I think most of us back then thought that record would never be broken. So to see LeBron do it over the last 20 years is pretty remarkable [and a] great testament to not only his ability but his durability. He's just a machine. He's healthy and a physical force night after night.
"And I also appreciate the fact that he's for most of his career, he's been more of a point forward than a scoring wing. And so it's ironic that the all-time leading scorer is a guy more known, at least for much of his career, as a passer. So it shows you how great he is and how versatile he is."
As Kerr mentioned, growing up, he never thought anyone would come close to the marker Abdul-Jabbar set after breaking the record in 1984, which Wilt Chamberlain held. Kerr recalled when the former Laker became the NBA's all-time leading scorer.
"I mean, I remember when it happened," Kerr said. "I've seen the highlight many times. So I don't remember if I was watching it live or not. But as a Laker fan growing up, I followed that team and watched them. I remember that."
Additionally, Kerr reflected on James' career as the Warriors' coach got to broadcast the four-time NBA champion's first preseason game.
"I don't think you can ever foresee much of anything when someone's 18," Kerr continued. "So his talent was blatantly obvious. I think I actually broadcasted his very first preseason game when he played with [the Cleveland Cavaliers]. It was a game at [Crypto.com Arena], and it was stunning to see how explosive and powerful he was, but at that point didn't shoot the ball very well. And you could tell he had a knack for passing and playmaking, but he had no idea who he was as a human being. And then I think that's what's unfolded.
"As you watch somebody, you get a sense of what they're about, and you could see didn't take long to see just how good he was and how powerful he was. And I think maybe the most impressive thing is just seeing his growth during the course of his career because he was so young when he came in. He had a lot of room for growth as a person and as a player, and he crushed it in both areas."
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Kerr eventually went from watching James in the broadcast booth to trying to beat the Lakers forward. First, as the Phoenix Suns' president of basketball operations and general manager; then, Kerr would become the Warriors' coach, where he had four epic NBA Finals matchups against James.
Golden State got through James in 2015, 2017 and 2018 to win the NBA championship, with the Ohio native getting the best of Kerr and the Warriors in 2016. Nonetheless, with the rivalry with James in the rearview mirror, Kerr appears to be appreciating another historical moment.