Los Angeles Lakers star forward LeBron James has spent almost his entire career playing on Christmas Day. It’s led him to foster some strong feelings regarding taking the court on that day. It may have laid the groundwork for why he always wanted to play for the Lakers.
LeBron James has become a regular playing on Christmas Day
Since entering the league, James has become accustomed to playing on Christmas Day.
The 36-year-old has taken the NBA hardwood 15 times, where he’s averaging 25.5 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 7.1 assists. James holds a 10-5 record, currently tied with former Miami Heat great Dwyane Wade for the all-time mark on Christmas Day.
All that has led him to develop a special sentiment toward one aspect of playing on that day.
LeBron James’ ideal Christmas is a clear sign he always dreamt of playing for the Lakers
James has spent almost his entire NBA career playing on Christmas Day due to his star power.
Although he previously expressed his feelings about not wanting to play on that day, he voiced in 2017 that he loved playing at Staples Center (soon-to-be Crypto.com Arena).
“I’ve had a lot of games that kind of stood out…playing in the Staples Center is always a treat,” James said Sunday via Cleveland.com. “I’ve never had an opportunity to play in the Garden, but playing in the Staples Center, I’ve been there quite a few times. So, it’s kind of always fun to be in L.A. and play in front of that crowd and have that atmosphere.
“I’ve only had probably four games at home out of the 12 … but being in the Staples Center has always been pretty good.”
James always had an affinity for playing at Staples Center as it meant matchups against Kobe Bryant. The two faced off 22 times in the regular season, with the Akron native getting the edge on 16 occasions.
Bryant brought out James’ A-Game as he averaged 28.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.3 assists. The four-time NBA champion holds the edge over the former Lakers great on Christmas Day with a 2-0 record.
In those contests, James averaged 26.5 points, 9.5 assists, 7.5 rebounds on 51.5% shooting from the floor, and 53.8% from 3-point range. It includes posting a triple-double performance in the 2010 matchup between the Lakers and Miami Heat. Meanwhile, Bryant averaged 26.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 7.5 assists on 34.9% shooting from the floor and 33.0% from distance.
Beyond that, the timing on James’ comments only further fueled the speculation that he would join the Lakers in the summer of 2018. It may be reading far too much into his past remarks, but it certainly demonstrated that playing at Staples Center always held a special place in his heart.
Chance to surpass Kobe Bryant as Christmas Day’s all-time leading scorer
As James prepares to play in his 16th Christmas Day game, he can garner another special NBA mark.
The 36-year-old sits only 12 points behind Bryant (395) as the all-time leading scorer. The former Lakers’ great played on Christmas Day 16 times, where he averaged 24.6 points per game on 40.8% shooting.
James should move past Bryant as the Lakers need him to lead the charge offensively against the Nets. It speaks to the 17-time All-Star’s longevity as he continues to play at an elite level into his 19th campaign.
Ultimately, the record will serve James as another connection to Bryant with a chance to honor him again.