As LeBron James chases down Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's record for the most points scored in the regular season, he has already accomplished a scoring milestone that Abdul-Jabbar never did -- scoring 50 points in a game with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Abdul-Jabbar, who finished his career with 38,387 points in the regular season, scored at least 50 points 10 different times, but all of them came during his first six seasons in the league when he was with the Milwaukee Bucks. James, on the other hand, has scored 50 or more 14 times in the regular season -- nine with the Cleveland Cavaliers, twice with the Miami Heat, and three times since joining the Lakers in the 2018-19 season.
With James fast approaching Abdul-Jabbar's career mark (he needs 36 points entering Tuesday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder), we look back at the highest-scoring regular-season games of his career.
MORE: The players who've held the all-time scoring record
March 3, 2014: 61 points vs. Charlotte Bobcats
James made his first eight 3-point attempts en route to breaking Glen Rice's Heat franchise record in a 124-107 win over the Bobcats.
What they said: "Once he sniffed 60, we knew he was going for it. And the amazing part is the efficiency. Good Lord. Sixty-one on 33 shots, that's Wilt Chamberlain-esque. That's pretty amazing. Incredible performance." -- Heat forward Shane Battier
Nov. 3, 2017: 57 points at Washington Wizards
James tied what was then the Cavaliers' franchise record for points in a game (since broken by Donovan Mitchell) by scoring 19 points in the fourth quarter to lead Cleveland to a 130-122 win.
What they said: "Whenever you're hitting tough, hand-in-your-face turnaround fadeaways from off the left and the right shoulder, it's your night. He was on a different level tonight." -- Wizards forward Kelly Oubre Jr.
March 5, 2022: 56 points vs. Golden State Warriors
James joined Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Jamal Crawford as the only players to have scored 50 or more in a game past age 37 with his highest-scoring game as a Laker in a 124-116 win over the Warriors.
What they said: "He was phenomenal tonight. The way that it came, in the rhythm of the game and the flow of the game, us making that comeback and him being a big reason for us coming back and making that run that he did. He just put us on his back tonight." -- Lakers forward Carmelo Anthony
March 20, 2005: 56 points vs. Toronto Raptors
James became the youngest player in NBA history to score 50, but the highest-scoring game of his career to that point wasn't enough to get Cleveland a win, as the Raptors defeated the Cavs 105-98.
What they said: "I thought he earned all 56. I mean, he hit some fadeaway 3s and shots, but he had two guys contesting him." -- Raptors coach Sam Mitchell
Feb. 20, 2009: 55 points at Milwaukee Bucks
James scored 16 points in a three-minute span to open the second half, erasing a Cavaliers deficit and leading the way to a 111-103 win over the Bucks.
What they said: "Just got in the zone, man. I saw a few go down, so I just kept going at it, man. Every shot that I made tonight, every shot that we all made tonight, we needed." -- James
Feb. 4, 2009: 52 points at New York Knicks
James was originally credited with a triple-double in this game, finishing with 52 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in a 107-102 win at Madison Square Garden, but the league reviewed the tape and took away his last rebound the next day.
What they said: "I don't go out there for the numbers, I just play my game. You guys seen every phase of my game tonight, the scoring, the rebounding, the assists and defensively just trying to attack the opposing team." -- James
Dec. 10, 2005: 52 points at Milwaukee Bucks
The second 50-point game of James' career also came in a losing effort, as the Bucks came away with a 111-106 win. They held James to 21 points in the second half after he'd gone off for 31 before halftime.
What they said: "We didn't want him to go off for 50, but he shot the ball so well coming out that it was kind of hard to stop him." -- Bucks center Andrew Bogut
This date in 2005, @KingJames scored 52 pts against the @Bucks pic.twitter.com/8MS3sPJnpY— NBA TV (@NBATV) December 10, 2014
Nov. 18, 2018: 51 points at Miami Heat
James reminded Heat fans of what they once had, lighting up his former team for 51 in a 113-97 win during his first season with the Lakers.
What they said: "It's always great to be here. We had some not-so-good times, we had more great times, so it's always a respect factor and a love for the people in Miami and especially the people who work here." -- James
Feb. 3, 2011: 51 points at Orlando Magic
James dropped 23 points in the first quarter, then scored 11 of Miami's last 12 points to help close out a 104-100 win over the Magic during his first season with the Heat.
What they said: "Just playing this team got me going. We understand that it wasn't just any regular-season game. There were a lot of things said about us in the offseason that came from this organization. So we just wanted to come in here and play to our abilities and make a statement." -- James
LeBron James dropped a monster line against the Magic with 51 PTS 11 REB 8 AST! (2011) pic.twitter.com/VeXZOs6NBO— ThrowbackHoops (@ThrowbackHoops) June 22, 2022
March 13, 2009: 51 points at Sacramento Kings
James finished regulation with 45 points, then added six more in the extra session to finish with 51 in a 126-123 overtime win against the Kings to help the Cavaliers clinch the Central Division title in 2009.
What they said: "LeBron James was phenomenal again. We've all seen that show before. He put on another one tonight. I wasn't looking at the points he scored, I just know that LeBron's going to have the ball. He's going to take control of the team and put the team on his shoulders and carry them." -- Kings interim coach Kenny Natt
Jan. 15, 2008: 51 points at Memphis Grizzlies
James was held to 13 points in the first half, then went off for 38 after halftime -- including nine in overtime -- as the Cavaliers came away with a 132-124 win over the Grizzlies.
What they said: "LeBron is fantastic. I think he's got more passing ability than Magic [Johnson] because he can put it on a dime and with zip. It's a function of his ability to score. He allows people to get free. He's 6-foot-9, and he can see." -- Grizzlies coach Marc Iavaroni
January 15, 2008: LBJ 51 🏀— On This Day: Cleveland Sports (@CityfanC) January 15, 2022
Lebron goes off for 51 points in #LetEmKnow 132-124 OT W vs. Memphis Grizzlies. LBJ's 4th 50 point game in career. Array of shots many against friend & future teammate Mike Miller. Oh yeah - 9 assts / 8 rebs also. #LBJ 🐐 pic.twitter.com/InG6zzkzVR
Jan. 21, 2006: 51 points at Utah Jazz
One day before Kobe Bryant's famed 81-point game, James settled for a mere 51 in a 108-90 win against the Jazz, becoming the youngest player in NBA history to reach the 5,000-point milestone.
What they said: "He just did everything he wants. He drives, he shoots, he scores, he goes to the line, he rebounds the ball." -- Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko
#TBT @KingJames scored 51 points in a win over the Jazz #OnThisDay in 2006. pic.twitter.com/STq2U6jVRG— NBA TV (@NBATV) January 21, 2016
March 11, 2022: 50 points vs. Washington Wizards
At 37, James became the oldest player in NBA history with multiple 50-point games in a single season when he dropped exactly 50 last season in a 122-109 win against the Wizards.
What they said: "Bron was exceptional tonight. Even at his age, he's still capable of doing incredible things like that. Once he got going, it was really hard to stop anything he was doing." -- Wizards center Kristaps Porzingis
March 5, 2008: 50 points at New York Knicks
"MVP" chants rained down from the New York crowd as James lit up the hometown Knicks for 50 points in a 119-105 win. James became the first player with at least 50 points, 10 assists and 8 rebounds in a game since Abdul-Jabbar on Jan. 19, 1975.
What they said: "I've dreamed about playing well in this building and it's overtaken of how I could ever dream about. To get a standing ovation in the greatest basketball arena in the world, it was a dream come true for me. It's one of the best things that ever happened to me." -- James