What If LeBron Breaks the NBA Scoring Record With Kareem’s Skyhook?
David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers in 2021.
LeBron James is on the verge of making NBA history in yet another capacity, but this time, he is marking one of his greatest achievements yet.
The basketball legend is a game or two away from breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA scoring record. Abdul-Jabbar set the record in 1984 with his patented skyhook shot, and that record has stood for the decades that have come since.
For a full LeBron tracker as he approaches the record, you can check out this piece from the Action Network’s Malik Smith, but from a betting perspective, there is a unique quirk behind James record-scoring bucket, however it may come.
You can bet on the exact method by which the scoring record is broken, akin to betting on a first basket method.
FanDuel has the options listed as the following:
|3-Point Field Goal||+370|
Here are FanDuel’s rules for how they will grade this bet:
Will be settled as per the play description from NBA.com. This market refers to how LeBron James will score his 38,388th Regular Season Point.
“Other” refers to all other non-listed scoring methods, such as a 2-point jump shot.
This may seem straight forward, but there is a bit of ambiguity to how certain shots can be graded, and in particular there is one type of shot that James appears to be working on: the skyhook.
What if LeBron pulls out a skyhook when he’s one bucket away from passing Kareem?
(via @LADEig) pic.twitter.com/H9m7jtfIiZ
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) December 28, 2022
It seems as though he’s warming up with the skyhook in a joking way — at least to some extent — but it’s happened on more than one occasion.
Imagine LeBron breaks Kareem’s record with a skyhook 🤣 (h/t hoopsnation/TT) pic.twitter.com/sj3SfDOx72
— Overtime (@overtime) December 30, 2022
So, if James did decide to honor the man he was passing in the NBA history books with his famous shot, how would it be graded by sportsbooks?
If the shot was taken from the distance that James has been using in these warmups, it would almost certainly fall under “other,” but let’s use a more realistic distance.
Against the Milwaukee Bucks, James made a driving shot from just outside of the restricted area.
According to the NBA, this shot was defined as a “Driving Bank Hook Shot,” meaning it would technically fall under the category of “Other.”
However, due to the proximity that James was to the basket, plenty of NBA fans would define this as a layup, and due to the nature of prop bets such as this, a problem could be created.
The odds of James throwing up a true skyhook from 10 feet is not likely, though also not impossible per se.
But this type of basket? This is something that James gets on a daily basis, and in such a rare market, there is no grading guide outside of deferring to the NBA’s official description.
This wouldn’t be the first time there has been a controversy regarding how a first basket is graded by the NBA and/or sportsbooks.
In Game 3 of the NBA Finals this past year, Kevon Looney made this shot.
Kevon Looney First Basket (+1300) 💰 pic.twitter.com/IuzhqEeb13
— NBABet (@nbabet) June 9, 2022
The basket was graded as a layup, but “other” bettors felt aggrieved by the ruling.
With James on the doorstep of history, this will be interesting to monitor as we get closer to that fateful moment.
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