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LeBron James: Kevin Durant could end up NBA’s all-time leading scorer

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The Cleveland Cavaliers and Oklahoma City Thunder square off Thursday night at Quicken Loans Arena in a marquee NBA showdown. And LeBron James seized upon the moment to lavish a heady amount of praise upon Kevin Durant.

Speaking to his fellow NBA superstar’s unique and lethal skill set given his size and frame, James suggested that Durant has the potential to surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and finish his career as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.

“His ability to score the ball is obviously up there with the greatest to ever play,” James said after Thursday’s Cavaliers shootaround, via ESPN. “I know that’s not in his memory bank right now, him trying to help the team get better and better, but long term he definitely can challenge that.”

Durant, in his ninth NBA season, currently has 16,056 points (per basketball-reference.com), which is a far cry from the scoring total attained by Abdul-Jabbar with 38,387.

To eclipse the NBA icon’s points record, it would require Durant to post his career-best point total of 2,593 — achieved in the 2013-14 season — for about eight more seasons. With Durant only 27 years old, the total seasons it would take to surpass Abdul-Jabbar is reasonable, although that absurdly high level of scoring productivity arguably is not.

Still, should Durant post a handful of phenomenal scoring seasons — along with some other very good ones — not to mention play past the age of 35, it’s certainly possible that he could finish his career as the league’s all-time points leader, given some fortuitous luck on the injury front.

Despite the longer-but-feasible odds, James argues Durant has what it takes to accomplish the remarkable feat.

“He’s a 7-footer with 6-foot ballhandling skills and a jump shot,” he said. “And athleticism. It’s never been done in our league. Never had a guy that’s 7 foot, can jump like that, can shoot like that, handle the ball like that. So it sets him apart.”

The debate James forwarded is purely academic at this point. So for now, simply enjoying two NBA superstars take the floor in what should be an epic showdown should be good enough.