During the Los Angeles Lakers’ blowout win over the Atlanta Hawks on January 7, LeBron James made NBA history twice at the expense of Michael Jordan and Alvin Robertson. The King continues to play at an MVP-type level despite being 37 and in Year 19.
The Lakers improved to 21-19 after beating the Hawks. They are on a four-game winning streak thanks to LeBron, who is putting up numbers no 37 year old has ever produced and trouncing father time.
LeBron James passed Michael Jordan to become oldest player to have 10 straight 25-point games
LeBron finished with 32 points against the Hawks. He’s scored at least 25 points in 10 straight games, becoming the oldest player in NBA history to achieve that feat.
During the 1997-98 season, Jordan scored 25 or more points for the Chicago Bulls at 34. MJ won his fifth regular-season MVP, 10th scoring title, sixth championship, and sixth Finals MVP in 1998. He averaged 28.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in the regular season and 33.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in the Finals against the Utah Jazz.
LeBron is putting up 28.7 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 6.6 assists per game this season. Despite being the fourth oldest player in the NBA, the four-time Finals MVP is second in the league in scoring and fifth in player efficiency rating. He is well on his way to making his 18th All-Star Game and 18th All-NBA team.
Passing Jordan as the oldest player to score at least 25 points 10 games in a row wasn’t the only history LeBron made against the Hawks. The Akron native has always prided himself on being an all-around player, which means he takes defense seriously.
LeBron James passed Alvin Robertson for 10th place on all-time steals list
LeBron recorded four steals versus the Hawks. He passed Robertson on the NBA’s all-time steals list, moving into 10th place. Robertson racked up 2,112 steals during his playing days with the San Antonio Spurs, Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons, and Toronto Raptors.
LeBron is now the only player in NBA history to rank top-10 all-time in points, assists, and steals. He has a long way to go to pass Jordan, though, on the steals list. His Airness registered 2,514 with the Bulls and Washington Wizards, good for third in NBA history. The Hall of Famer also won three steals titles.
Breaking records is something LeBron presumably doesn’t take for granted since he’s a student of the game and respects legends like Jordan and Robertson. However, LBJ is currently focused on getting the Lakers back on track and the team’s improving health is a big reason they are playing better as of late.
King James: “We’re getting our guys back. It’s literally that simple”
The Lakers have won five of six overall. Anthony Davis is still out due to a knee injury, but the return of Trevor Ariza, Talen Horton-Tucker, and Malik Monk have been tremendous, and Kendrick Nunn is expected to make his season debut soon.
“We’re getting our guys back,” LeBron said after the Hawks game. “It’s literally that simple. We’re starting to see what we have because guys are in the lineup. Soon we’re getting Nunn as well, and not too long after that, AD returns. When you’re building a team with depth and chemistry on the floor, and when too many guys are out, it’s too early to gauge it.”
If the playoffs started today, LeBron and the Lakers would be the sixth seed in the Western Conference and avoid the play-in tournament. It will be fascinating to see what position the purple and gold are in once the regular season ends, but rest assured that LeBron will continue to put up ridiculous numbers and defy father time.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference