Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James had a perfect start to his 36th birthday as he became the first player in NBA history to score 10 or more points in 1000 straight games on Wednesday.
James achieved the feat in the game against San Antonio Spurs, when his jump hook with 6:15 minutes remaining in the second quarter gave him his 11th point of the match. Overall, he scored 26 points as the Lakers won the game by 126-107 scoreline.
“I just go out there and try to prepare and be the best every night I step on the floor,” James said after the game.
“If I’m in uniform, I’ve got to do things that help our team win. If it’s scoring, rebounding, defending, assisting, doing little things. Just be available for my teammates throughout the course of the game when I’m on the floor, also on the bench. And I’ve been fortunate enough to do that throughout my career for the majority of it.”
James had already broken Michael Jordan’s record for the longest streak of double digit scores in league history when he scored 27 points against the New Orleans Pelicans on March 30, 2018.
The last time James scored fewer than 10 points was on January 5, 2007. He had finished with eight points against Milwaukee Bucks back then. Since then, he has finished with exactly 10 points only on three occasions.
Lakers’ coach Frank Vogel had said before the game against the Spurs that he was not aware of the approaching milestone.
“I did not know about that stat,” Vogel had said during a videoconference with reporters. “But certainly we’ll make sure the ball is in his hands plenty tonight.”
James walked into the game against the Spurs with the most points (34,332) in NBA history before the age of 36. Lakers greats Kobe Bryant (second with 31,700), Wilt Chamberlain (third with 30,335) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (fourth with 29,779) sit next in the list.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich also expressed his amazement at James’ longevity.
“It’s a tribute to both his intelligence level and his tenacity, his character, his commitment to excellence,” Popovich said during a videoconference with reporters. “You combine those things and you get what we see in LeBron James after all of these years. He looks pretty much like when he first came into the league.
“He deserves a lot of credit for being the consummate professional, using every technique that he can, being on the cutting edge of things. So, his mental state along with his physical state really makes him very special, probably more than anybody who has ever played the game.”