LeBron James passes Kobe Bryant to claim NBA's Christmas Day scoring record

LeBron James needed just 16 minutes to pass Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and claim an NBA record on Saturday night.

James, in the first game at the newly named Arena in Los Angeles, surpassed Bryant’s Christmas Day scoring record in the Lakers' 122-115 loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night.

James, after making a layup to tie Bryant just after the midway point in the second quarter, hit a pair of free throws to set the record after drawing a foul off Nets guard Langston Galloway.

Bryant scored 395 points in 16 Christmas Day games throughout his Lakers career. James, who was playing in his 16th Christmas game on Saturday, entered the contest just 12 points behind Bryant’s mark. He and Bryant are now tied for the most Christmas appearances in league history.

Kevin Durant is the next closest active player on the Christmas scoring list with 299 points in 10 appearances. Durant did not play on Saturday, and is currently in the NBA’s health and safety protocols. Oscar Robertson is in third with 377 points, and Dwyane Wade is in fourth with 314 points. Lakers guard Russell Westbrook entered the night in seventh with 241 points, 31 points behind Shaquille O’Neal.

The Lakers rallied out of a 20-point hole in the fourth quarter and tied it up with just 45 seconds left in the game after a Malik Monk layup.

That run, though, ended right there. The Nets finished on a 7-0 run, started by a wild Nic Claxton dunk over James, to take the seven-point win.

James finished the night with 39 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in the loss, which marked the Lakers’ fifth in a row. Monk added 20 off the bench while shooting 8-of-13 from the field, and Carmelo Anthony added 17 points and 11 rebounds.

James Harden dropped 36 points with 10 rebounds and 10 assists to lead the Nets with his triple-double. Patty Mills added 34 points while making eight 3-pointers, which set a NBA Christmas Day record.

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James
LeBron James also matched Kobe Bryant's 16 appearances on Christmas on Saturday, the most in NBA history. (Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today Sports)