When he arrived in the NBA back in 2003, he already was known as “The Chosen One” and just a couple years later people were pondering whether he was the best ever.
Then, he took his talents to South Beach, won a couple of NBA titles and then returned to where it all started for him and won a championship in Cleveland where there hadn’t been successes like that since the 1960s for any sport. His cardboard? It’s been among the royalty of the NBA since Day 1 — this isn’t about that.
But tonight in San Antonio LeBron James will likely make a different kind of NBA history but is just as significant (if not more so) from a historical perspective.
With just seven points against the Spurs he’ll join the 30,000 Point Club, reaching a plateau that has been done by just seven players before him in ABA/NBA history at age 33. (The list is below.)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? He played until he was 41. Karl Malone played until he was 40. Kobe Bryant hung them up at age 37, while Jordan was 39 — with all those seasons missed to baseball, retirement, whatever that was — while Wilt Chamberlain was 36 as was Julius Erving. The only active player ahead of James is Dirk Nowitzki, who is still trucking along in Dallas at age 39.
Barring injury, at his approximate scoring pace James will pass Dr. J. this season and Wilt The Stilt and MJ next year. Then, The Mailman the year after that. It might take a couple more seasons after that to contend for the top spot if he chooses to keep playing — until he’s roughly 37. (Where that might be? That could be interesting for his cardboard.)
We all know James’ place on cardboard — that’s been a given since his arrival — but his place in NBA history seems to be coming into focus as intensely and as elite as was thought since the beginning. This collector decided it was worth taking that look again — and you can watch it happen tonight at 8 p.m. on TNT.
TOP 20 NBA/ABA CAREER SCORERS (* — denotes Hall of Famer, bold denotes active)
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