James’ record-breaking basket came late in the third quarter with the Lakers down seven points.
Everyone’s attention was understandably focused on James setting the record, but many people also noticed former Lakers big man Thomas Bryant sealing off Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who was defending him on the play, inside the paint and asking for the ball.
Bryant, who won a ring with the Nuggets last season and is now on the Miami Heat, spoke about the viral moment.
Thomas Bryant explains why he was desperately calling for the ball before LeBron’s record breaking shot 😂 pic.twitter.com/91ilbO4MJ3
— 𝕞𝕒𝕟𝕠 〰️ (@MANOMAGlC) November 3, 2023
“I didn’t even notice that was the shot though,” Bryant said. “… When Bron says, ‘If I see you on that wing, you got a smaller defender, get yo a– in that post, dive, call for the ball.’ So, I’m doing what he told me to do, and I’m looking around. I’m like, right before he shot the ball, I’m like, ‘Why’s everybody camera out?'”
Bryant admitted he had an “oh s—” moment of realizing that James was about to break the scoring record on the play.
“I see everybody’s camera out,” Bryant continued. “I’m like, ‘Don’t he got four, six more points to go?’ The next thing you know, he shoots it and put his hands up.”
On the night, James made 13 of his 20 shots to overtake Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. Unfortunately for James and the Lakers, his record-setting night came in a losing effort. The Thunder spoiled the party, winning the game by three points.
James setting the record was one of the high points in what had been an otherwise frustrating season to that point for the Lakers. The loss dropped the Lakers to 25-30 on the season with little chance at making a postseason run.
However, the organization then made some big changes and went on a special run in the postseason, making it all the way to the Western Conference Finals. Los Angeles was unable to get past Bryant and the Nuggets, who wound up beating the Heat in the NBA Finals.
It’s undoubtedly a funny moment for Bryant to look back on now. Perhaps he and James will talk about it before the Lakers and Heat face each other on Monday night in Miami.