When it comes to deeming what makes an athlete the best at a sport, there are a few ways to measure it. (That's part of what makes GOAT, or Greatest Of All Time, conversations so fun!)
Is it how many championships a player wins? MVP awards? How long they are able to play their sport?
No matter how you choose, in team sports like basketball and hockey, it is pretty tough to argue with scoring points. After all, the team with the highest score wins the game!
Last week, two huge all-time scoring records fell. Let's tally up the final scores!
King James reigns
When your nickname is literally "King James", it's maybe no surprise to find yourself on the top of a list. But there are records and then there are RECORDS. And last Tuesday, LeBron James broke an enormous one.
The most points all-time by an NBA player.
The previous record holder, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, is a legend of the game (as well as a fine writer, proving that sports and studies can mix). His career total of 38,387 points was seen by most people as essentially unbreakable. Even the great Michael Jordan had over 6,000 less points in his magnificent career.
But in his game versus the Oklahoma City Thunder, LeBron sank a jump shot at the end of the third quarter that gave him 36 points in the game ... and 38,388 in his career. Even Kareem himself was there to congratulate LeBron.
Watch it all go down below.
So is he now the greatest NBA player ever? He is certainly in the Top 5. Maybe even Top 2. But can he dethrone Michael Jordan? Well, that's a debate that will rage on for years to come. But despite playing for 19 years now, the L.A. Lakers star is still one of the league's best players.
And as of now, its greatest scorer ever.
Yay for Jagr!
Meanwhile in hockey, a similar chase for scoring greatness is unfolding in the NHL. As we wrote earlier this season, Washington Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin is the league's number two all-time goal scorer, and is closing in on Wayne Gretzky's monumental total of 894.
Like Kareen's NBA record, many people have long assumed that Gretzky's record was unbreakable. But while Ovechkin hasn't done it yet (he is currently at 812), he is certainly making it look like toppling The Great One's record is possible.
So possible, in fact, that it has already happened. Sort of!
On Sunday, February 5, Jaromir Jagr scored a goal in the Czech League for his club, the Kladno Knights, that was his 1,099th pro-level goal. This surpasses Gretzky's total of 1,098 such goals.
Watch him score to set this miraculous total below.
So where does this put Jagr in the all-time conversation?
The NHL is widely considered the toughest pro league in the world. Jagr scored 766 regular season goals there. But he also scored 78 playoff goals in the league. Then there are 93 goals in Russia's KHL, 107 in the Czech League, and 55 more in international tournaments like the Olympics. When you add up all of the goals Gretzky scored across the same sorts of competitions, Jagr has now potted one more.
No matter how you slice it, it is an amazing achievement—especially when you consider that Jagr will turn 51 years old this week. Now that is an impressive career. And it's still going!