Through The Years: NBA’s Scoring Leader LeBron James Against Utah Jazz
Feb 8, 2023, 5:41 AM | Updated: Feb 9, 2023, 9:32 am
SALT LAKE CITY – LeBron James just became the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s mark of 38,387. Drafted in 2003, James played many games against the Utah Jazz in his 20-year career.
LeBron James set the record against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The shot that did it was a fadeaway in the third quarter.
— NBA (@NBA) February 8, 2023
In 20 seasons and over 1400 games, James’ career scoring average is 27.2. If James continues his scoring pace this year, it will be his fourth season averaging 30 points or more.
Records Are Meant To Be Broken
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar became the all-time leading scorer on April 5, 1984. Wilt Chamberlain was the all-time leader up until that point.
Abdul-Jabbar actually broke the record against the Utah Jazz. In the 1983-1984 season, the Jazz had trouble selling seats at the Salt Palace. To make more money, they played occasional ‘home’ games in Las Vegas. Abdul-Jabbar broke the record in Las Vegas at 37 years old.
James was born on December 30, 1984. Close to 8 months after Kareem broke the record.
On James’ 38th birthday, Abdul-Jabbar made light of getting his record broken.
“Happy Birthday, Lebron.” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “38 is the new 38,388.”
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Kareem’s record was one-year shy of standing for a ridiculous four decades.
In the same season that James broke the record, he became the first player to have a 40-point game against every single NBA franchise.
IT'S OFFICIAL! 💥
LeBron James has scored 40 points against EVERY single NBA team 🐐👑
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) January 25, 2023
LeBron James Against Utah
James played against the Jazz 37 times in his career. The Lakers and Jazz play twice in early April, so that number will grow to 39 after the 2022-2023 season.
In his career against Utah, James averages 28.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 7.1 assists.
LeBron has scored 1043 points against the Jazz in his career, the 9th fewest against any opponent in his career. But, his 28.2 ppg average against the Jazz is his 7th highest.
LeBron’s First Game Against Jazz
LeBron James played his first career game against the Jazz on January 17, 2004. James posted 29 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists on 43% shooting.
Despite being a much worse team than the Jazz, the Cavaliers pulled out a 102-96 win in the Delta Center.
January 17, 2004: @KingJames 1st game against the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City. He had 29 points in the Cavs 102-96 OT win. While watching this note that LeBron was just 19. You could tell from the start he was great. #KSLSportsArchive #NBA pic.twitter.com/w7rnVIaaBL
— Jeremiah Jensen (@JJSportsBeat) March 20, 2020
LeBron’s Best Game Against Jazz
In 2006, James had the best game of his career against the Utah Jazz. He put up 51 points, 5 rebounds, and 8 assists on 54% from the field and 50% from three.
James’ performance pushed Cleveland to a 108-90 victory.
21 year-old LeBron James drops 51 on the Utah Jazz, gets a standing ovation from the opposing fans.
Just ridiculous. pic.twitter.com/8xrmqPhM9d
— LeBron History 🏀 (@bronhistory) August 2, 2022
In the 2005-2006 season, James led the Cavaliers to the fourth seed with a 50-32 record. The Utah Jazz barely missed the playoffs with a 41-41 record.
James set the record for the youngest All-Star Game MVP in Houston and finished the year on the All-NBA first team.
One day after LeBron dropped 51 on the Jazz, Kobe Bryant had his legendary 81-point game against the Toronto Raptors.
LeBron James And Utah Jazz Fun Facts, Moments
In 2020, Donovan Mitchell beat LeBron’s record for most points in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Mitchell beat the record in the series against the Nuggets in the Orlando bubble.
James’ record was set in 2018 against the Indiana Pacers. The series went to 7 games and James averaged 34.4 points, 10 rebounds, and 7.7 assists on 55% from the field.
Most points in 1st Round series (NBA history):
Donovan Mitchell, 254 (2020)
LeBron James, 241 (2018)
Michael Jordan, 226 (1988)
Tracy McGrady, 222 (2003)
Jamal Murray, 221 (2020)
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) September 2, 2020
When LeBron passed Karl Malone in all-time points, he gave respect to the Utah Jazz legend.
LEBRON MOVES TO SECOND ALL-TIME IN REGULAR SEASON SCORING 😤 pic.twitter.com/jbT5zBC1l5
— NBA TV (@NBATV) March 20, 2022
“The most important leadership for you is to try to be available as much as possible on the floor,” James said. “I think myself and (Karl Malone), we always just tried to be in uniform and make plays and stay in condition and try to stay healthy, stay injury-free as much as you can and also be productive on the floor.”
One of the biggest bloopers of LeBron’s career came against the Jazz in 2019.
James got away with an egregious traveling violation which prompted a hilarious response from Bojan Bogdanović and an uproar from the Utah crowd.
With more years left on the tail-end of LeBron James’ career, there are likely more Jazz-related moments on the horizon.
Utah Jazz Scoreboard
Utah Jazz Team Leaders
Utah Jazz Standings