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On The Date in Sports April 5, 1984: Kareem Skyhooks NBA Scoring Record

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar of the Los Angeles Lakers becomes the NBA's All-Time leading scorer as he breaks Wilt Chamberlain's record of 31,419 points. Chamberlain had held the record for nearly 20 years. Kareem would score 22 points to lead the Lakers to a 129-115 victory over the Utah Jazz in Las Vegas. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar would retire in 1989 with 38,387 points, which remains the record. However, LeBron James is on pace to break the record next season.

Born Lew Alcindor in New York City, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar dominated the playgrounds of Harlem and became a High School Legend at Power Memorial Academy. Taller than any of his classmates, he was able to dunk at the age of 13 and led his school to three championships. The teams that Alcindor played for were later named the High School Team of the Century, as he chose to attend UCLA after being the most highly recruited basketball star in the history of the NCAA. 

Due to rules prohibiting Freshmen on the varsity team, Lew Alcindor, now topping seven feet, could not play for John Wooden's Bruins in 1966. However, he led the Freshmen team to a victory over the varsity team, previewing the dominance that was to come. During his three years with the Bruins, UCLA lost two games and won three NCAA Tournaments. So dominant of force was Lew Alcindor, the NCAA banned the slam dunk while he was in college. This only made Alcindor a better player as he developed the unstoppable skyhook.

After his college career, Lew Alcindor was drafted first overall by the Milwaukee Bucks. He won Rookie of the Year in 1970 and won his first MVP in 1971, leading Milwaukee to an NBA Championship. After the season, he would change his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, meaning noble servant of the almighty, after converting to Islam. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won back-to-back scoring titles with the Bucks and won three MVPs while leading them to a second NBA Finals appearance in 1974. However, he had grown bored with Milwaukee, feeling that the city did not fit his cultural needs as he requested a trade in 1975.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers with Walt Wesley from the Bucks for Elmore Smith, Brian Winters, Dave Meyers, and Junior Bridgeman. Kareem won the NBA MVP in his first two seasons with the Lakers, winning a sixth MVP in 1980. It was that season he was teamed with Magic Johnson and began a Lakers dynasty. The Lakers won championships in 1980 and 1982, appearing in the NBA Finals in 1983.

The Lakers were on their way to another NBA Finals appearance in 1984 when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar set the scoring record. While Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was in the twilight of his career, he remained a star shining in the showtime, as the Lakers won three NBA Championships in four years, with Kareem winning the NBA Finals MVP in 1985 as the Lakers finally broke the Celtics curse. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played in the NBA Finals in six of his final seven seasons, with the Lakers winning four titles. During his 20-year career, Kareem was an NBA All-Star 19 times.