The Los Angeles Lakers have been a walking disaster this season, but LeBron James hasn’t. The four-time MVP, who turned 37 on Dec. 30, is having a remarkable campaign thus far, and his latest stellar performance etched his name next to the one and only Michael Jordan.
LeBron and Jordan will always be linked. They are two of the greatest players in NBA history, and the latter was the former’s childhood idol. The GOAT debate between LeBron and Jordan will probably never end. However, fans of both players have to marvel at how dominant MJ and the King are at advanced ages.
LeBron James is oldest player since Michael Jordan to put up a 40-point, 10-rebound stat line
The Lakers destroyed the Portland Trail Blazers on Dec. 31 behind a dominant performance from LeBron. The small forward put up 43 points, 14 rebounds, four assists, two steals, and two blocks while shooting 16-of-26 from the field, 5-of-10 from beyond the arc, and 6-of-9 from the free-throw line.
LeBron is the oldest player since Jordan in 2003 to put up a 40-point, 10-rebound stat line. His Airness did it twice with the Washington Wizards during the 2002-03 season, his final year in the NBA.
LeBron has scored at least 30 points seven games in a row for the Lakers. He’s been on a tear recently, and it doesn’t appear he’s going to slow down soon.
LeBron James is beating father time
LeBron is not only 37, but he’s also in his 19th season in the NBA. Despite having so many miles on his body, the four-time champion still looks like the best player in the game, and it’s all thanks to his preparation.
“I literally try to prepare my mind and my body and my soul on how I can stay young in a young man’s game,” LeBron said. “Sometimes you do have to remind people that you can still do what you do at a high level, and I’ve just been blessed, very blessed, and continue to put the work in because that’s what it all boils down to. It boils down to putting the work in, and everything else will take care of itself.”
According to ESPN Stats & Information research, LeBron is the oldest player in NBA history with 40 points in under 30 minutes of action. He’s averaging 36.0 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 6.1 assists while shooting 57.8% from the field over his last seven games. The Akron native is the sixth player in league history to hit that stat line over a seven-game stretch, joining Jordan, Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, and Elgin Baylor.
Despite LeBron’s heroics, the Lakers are only in seventh place in the Western Conference standings. LBJ would be in the MVP conversation if Los Angeles had a better record. Ironically, LeBron’s season is similar to what Jordan went through during his two years with the Wizards.
Michael Jordan missed playoffs twice with Wizards
Jordan averaged 21.2 points in 142 games with the Wizards. However, Washington missed the playoffs in 2001-02 and 2002-03.
The Wizards were on their way to making the postseason in 2001-02. However, Jordan suffered a knee injury and missed several games. The Lakers likely would have made the playoffs in 2018-19, LeBron’s first year with them, but the swingman missed many games after sustaining a hamstring injury.
LeBron is two championships and two Finals MVPs away from tying Jordan, who won six rings and six Finals MVPs with the Chicago Bulls. The Chosen One passed Superman on the NBA’s all-time scoring list in 2018-19. He is on pace to pass Abdul-Jabbar for the No. 1 spot next season, but that’s not what LeBron is focused on.
Like Jordan, the Akron Hammer only cares about winning, and for the Lakers to climb up the West standings, LeBron will have to continue his superb play despite being 37 and in Year 19.
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