Los Angeles Lakers star forward LeBron James has put forth an illustrious NBA career that has seen him put together some incredible performances along the way. With his 35th birthday being on Monday, it has allowed us to look back on some of his best outings on this day over the years in career. Although James hasn’t had the opportunity to do that in his brief time in Los Angeles, here are the top birthday performances in his first 16-plus years in the league.
5. Dec. 30, 2003 – First Birthday Game
Game: 92 Indiana Pacers 89 Cleveland Cavaliers
Stats: 22 Pts, 10 Rebs, 4 Asts
In his first year in the league, James took the league by storm and quickly proved to be the real deal from the get-go. It was a monster performance from James by any means, but it displayed his all-around ability on the court. Although James’ didn’t grab the win in his first try on his birthday, he put a respectable performance that would set the tone for years to come on this day.
4. Dec. 30, 2013 – 3-Point Barrage
Game: 97 Miami Heat 94 Denver Nuggets
Stats: 26 Pts, 10 Asts, 6 Rebs
James’ close friend Carmelo Anthony was long gone from the Nuggets, the two teams had a highly competitive contest. The 29-year-old was on point from beyond the arc on his birthday, drilling 5-of-9 attempts. James rounded it all out with a game-high 10 assists to help the Heat pull out a win on the road in the Pepsi Center. What was most impressive was that he put this outing together after a one-game absence from a groin injury.
3. Dec. 30, 2011 – First Heat Birthday win
Miami Heat 103 Minnesota Timberwolves 101
Stats: 34 Pts, 10 Asts, 8 Rebs, 4 Stls
James was in the midst of his second campaign with the Heat after his fruit year came up just short. It was a season that saw him get back to playing with the same usual mentality, which he put on display on his 27th birthday. Although the score of the game remained quite close throughout, James dictated the flow of the contest that saw him post a near triple-double.
That saw him pour in 15 points in the first quarter alone while he set up the game-winning alley-oop from out of bounds to star guard Dwyane Wade to pull out the road win. It was the epitome of a LeBron James type of performance.
2. Dec. 30, 2008 – Dueling Dwyane Wade
Game: Miami Heat 104 Cleveland Cavaliers 95
Stats: 38 Pts, 7 Asts, 2 Rebs, 2 Blks
In the 2008-09 season, Dwyane Wade was in the midst of his best individual campaign that saw him earn much MVP consideration. Meanwhile, James was putting forth what would be his first NBA season. The 24-year-old did his best to pull the win out for the Cavaliers, scoring 24 points in the second half to erase a 16-point deficit, but that wound up not being enough.
Wade had a strong all-around outing as he had a double-double, pouring in 21 points, 12 assists, and five rebounds to send James to a 0-3 record on his birthday. The fellow All-Star also had a playful parting shot to his close friend. (H/T ESPN)
“We weren’t into a nice birthday presents this time around for
LeBron,” Wade said.
It wouldn’t be long after that, James got back on the right track on his birthday.
1. Dec. 30, 2009 – First birthday win
Game: 106 Cleveland Cavaliers 101 Atlanta Hawks
Stats: 48 Pts, 10 Rebs, 6 Asts, 2 Stls, 2 Blks
It took James until his fourth game on his birthday to grab his first win, and it came in a major way. He went off for his best offensive showing, guiding the Cavaliers behind a game-high 48 points on an efficient 15-of-23 shooting from the floor. His scoring production was responsible for nearly half of Cleveland’s points in the contest.
However, the deciding bucket in the back-and-forth contest came from big man Anderson Varejao with his first career 3-pointer with 17.2 seconds left in the fourth quarter to break a 101 tie. Nonetheless, this is quite easily the best outing of his career that he has had on his birthday.