LeBron James broke Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time NBA scoring record on Tuesday night in front of an adoring crowd in Los Angeles. The moment was captured live on TNT and in at least one iconic image by Getty photographer Andrew D. Bernstein. Shared here by ESPN's NBA account.
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Many people have been able to look past Thomas Bryant asking for the ball in the post during one of the most iconic moments in NBA history to note that everyone in the crowd is recording LeBron as he shoots his jumper. Does no one - besides Phil Knight, seated next to LeBron's sons - simply live in the moment anymore? Has it really gotten to the point where we can only experience reality through our tiny screens? Does it matter if you were there if you can't post video on social media? It is a real shame, isn't it?
I'd like to look at this picture from another perspective. It perfectly encapsulates LeBron James' life. Since entering the NBA as an 18-year old in 2003 all eyes have been on him. He grew up in the social media age and for the last two decades every cell phone camera in the room has been focused on him. And he's somehow never been caught making a mistake off the court. All he's done is exceed all the wildest expectations.
And in this moment, as he accomplished the impossible by breaking what looked like an unbreakable record, everyone turned their phones on him once more so that they could prove they were there because that's what we do. A photo capturing this moment form this era would not be an accurate depiction of the world we live in if people weren't on their phones. If there's anyone who understands that, it's LeBron James.
One of the goofier memes involving LeBron shows him taking pictures with a flip phone at WWE Raw in 2003.
He brought a video camera on a Team USA promotional trip in 2006.
Here he is at a shoe release in 2010.
Presumably, these are not the only three times that LeBron has taken a picture or video over the last 20 years. Is it a little weird that this is how we experience everything now? Yeah, but that doesn't mean these people in that photograph aren't present in the moment. If Michael Jordan is your GOAT and you had been there with a smartphone when he was hitting one of his most iconic shots, you'd have a shaky video or out of focus picture of it saved to your old-ass Cloud.
We get to take pictures of our memories now. That's pretty cool. Not as cool as scoring the most points in the history of basketball, but it's something worth remembering. Of course, a picture would be better.