LeBron James surpassed Michael Jordan to become the highest points scorer in NBA play-off history as the Cleveland Cavaliers reached the finals for a third successive year.
James scored 35 points in the series-clinching victory against the Boston Celtics to reach 5,995 points, taking him past the previous mark of 5,987 set by basketball great Jordan.
James’ efforts helped Cleveland to a 135-102 victory in Boston that clinched the Eastern Conference.
The 32-year-old paid tribute to Jordan after taking his spot at the top of the rankings, offering a reminder of why he chooses to don the number 23 jersey – also Jordan’s preference in his playing days.
James told a press conference, posted by NBA TV on Twitter: “I wear the number because of Mike. I fell in love with the game because of Mike.
“When you’re growing up and you see Michael Jordan it’s almost like a god. So I’d never believed I could beat Mike.
“The biggest thing for me sitting here today after breaking the record is that I did it just being me.”
Cleveland’s 4-1 series victory set up a meeting with the Golden State Warriors in the NBA finals for a third successive year.
It is the seventh successive year James has led his team to the finals, with four straight appearances for the Miami Heat preceding his return to Cleveland in 2014.
Cleveland came through the East by winning 12 of their 13 games and will look to defend their title against the Warriors, who were a perfect 12-0 as they came through the Western Conference play-offs.