LeBron James Breaks Yet Another Record

Last night, he finished in double digits for his 867th consecutive game. There are 71 players in the Hall of Fame who didn't play in that many games.

LeBron James, then a high school prodigy, earned a mention on the very first day of OTB‘s existence. It turns out that he’s still a pretty fair basketball player. No, it’s true.

ESPN (“The need-to-know numbers about LeBron’s epic scoring streak“):

The date is Jan. 5, 2007, and the Milwaukee Bucks have no answer for Cleveland Cavaliers forward Drew Gooden. He’s having a career night: 19 second-half points and his first game with 30 points and 15 rebounds. Cleveland wins, earning its fifth straight victory against the Bucks.

It also would be the last time LeBron James scores fewer than 10 points. On this night, he finishes with eight.

That was 11 years, 2 months and 25 days ago.

Now he passes Michael Jordan with his 867th consecutive game scoring in double figures, the longest streak in NBA history.

Here are 10 numbers to know about one of the most underrated and absurd streaks in sports to put into context the nature of such mechanically consistent production.

10 numbers to know about LeBron James’ 10-point streak

867: If you added up the longest double-digit points streaks of the following 15 players’ careers, it would equal James’ all-time mark of 867 games: LaMarcus Aldridge (84), Giannis Antetokounmpo (82), Karl-Anthony Towns (75), Stephen Curry (74), Goran Dragic (60), Kyrie Irving (58), Chris Paul (57), Klay Thompson (56), John Wall (55), Paul George (55), Anthony Davis (52), Kemba Walker (48), Jimmy Butler (44), Kristaps Porzingis (34) and Al Horford (33). That’s an All-Star lineup.

610: James Harden has the second-longest active streak at 257 straight games, 610 fewer than LeBron James. James’ streak is more than the next seven active streaks combined.

50: According to the Elias Sports Bureau, James has more 50-point games in his career (11) than single-digit scoring games (8). He, Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain are the only players in NBA history to have accomplished that feat.

99.3: James has scored 10 or more in 99.3 percent of his career games, the highest percentage in NBA history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Kevin Durant is second on the list (98.8 percent), with Jordan a couple of tenths behind.

1: Jordan had one game out of 1,109 in a Chicago Bulls uniform scoring fewer than 10 points, including the playoffs. He scored eight points in a blowout loss against the Cavaliers on March 22, 1986, before his streak began. Jordan wouldn’t score in single digits again until December 27, 2001, against the Indiana Pacers, as a member of the Washington Wizards, with a six-point effort as a 38-year-old.

40: During his streak, Jordan had twice as many 40-point games than games scoring fewer than 20 (159 to 78). James has had 44 40-point games during his streak.

71: There are 71 players in the Basketball Hall of Fame who didn’t play 867 games in their entire NBA careers, including George Gervin, Bob Pettit, Elgin Baylor, Bob McAdoo and Pete Maravich.

90: 90 percent of active NBA players weren’t in the league the last time James didn’t score in double figures in a regular-season game. Every Cavalier who played in that 2007 game besides James is no longer in the NBA.

1,029: James’ streak could have been 1,029 games if not for that eight-point game in 2007. He had reeled off 161 straight double-figure scoring games, then scored those eight against the Bucks — and then he began his current streak. That 161-game streak, the second longest of James’ career, is longer than the longest streak — current or since ended — of all active players but five.

2: That’s how many playoff games James has finished with fewer than 10 points. He scored a career postseason-low seven points against the Pacers in Game 5 of the 2014 Eastern Conference finals. And he infamously finished with eight points against the Dallas Mavericks in Game 4 of the 2011 NBA Finals. James didn’t score in the fourth quarter of that game and only attempted one shot.

James has been in the conversation for greatest player in NBA history for quite some time. Even so, he’s arguably still underappreciated. While he doesn’t physically dominate the game in the way Wilt Chamberlain did in his day, I don’t know that anyone has come close to the level of consistency James has demonstrated. The only real argument against him in the Greatest Of All Time discussion is that Jordan, Russell, and others have won more championships. But it’s a team game.

FILED UNDER: Sports
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. James Pearce says:

    The only real argument against him in the Greatest Of All Time discussion is that Jordan, Russell, and others have won more championships.

    I’m open to the idea that LeBron is the GOAT despite the dearth of championships in comparison to other players. I find the dude outright inspirational.

    When a little luck leads to talent and they later meet diligence, you get LeBron James.




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  2. James Joyner says:

    @James Pearce: Yup. He’s not without some minor character flaws but he’s a better citizen and teammate than Jordan ever was—and he’s done it while being in the social media spotlight going back to high school, something Jordan never endured. And it’s not really useful to compare guards and forwards to big men; they play such different roles.




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  3. MBunge says:

    LeBron is not the GOAT. It’s not close. There are even two players in his own era, Kobe and Duncan, that you can credibly argue deserve to be ranked ahead of him.

    That shouldn’t take away from his own astonishing greatness or that he seems to be an astoundingly well-adjusted human being, even though he’s probably been getting his butt kissed since he was in middle school.

    Mike




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  4. James Joyner says:

    @MBunge: Kobe isn’t even legitimately in the conversation; he’s nowhere near the player LeBron is. It’s really hard to compare Duncan, a big man, with LeBron, a versatile forward. But LeBron is a better regular season player and a way, way better postseason player.

    BasketballReference.com is the go-to resource for these things and it’s easy to do head-to-head-to-head comparisons. Duncan-Bryant-James is here. Whether you do per 100 games, per 36 minutes, or go to the advanced stats, James is simply a substantially better player than either.

    Oh, and LeBron did pretty well head-to-head against both Kobe and Duncan as well.




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  5. James Pearce says:

    @MBunge:

    There are even two players in his own era, Kobe and Duncan, that you can credibly argue deserve to be ranked ahead of him.

    I’d feel more comfortable arguing Duncan over Kobe, but even then, I don’t think I’d be comfortable arguing for Duncan without including Ginobili, Parker, or Poppovich.

    They’re all great players, right? But the GOAT walks amongst us. You can’t find him in the record books.




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  6. MBunge says:

    @James Joyner: Kobe isn’t even legitimately in the conversation

    Yeah, that’s not what people were saying in 2008 before the Celtics beat the Lakers for the title. Go back take a gander at practically any of the media coverage leading up to that Finals and you’ll find virtually everyone gearing up to put Kobe on the same level as Michael. And Kobe won two more titles after that.

    Yes, Kobe is legitimately in the conversation. 5-2 in the Finals playing against indisputably tougher competition in the Western Conference puts him there, even if nothing else does. I wouldn’t put him above LeBron but if you can put LeBron in the discussion with Michael, you absolutely can put Kobe in the discussion with LeBron.

    Mike




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  7. MBunge says:

    @James Pearce:

    The thing that really elevates Duncan is if anyone were starting a team, would they take Ginobili and Parker over Wade and Bosh or Kyrie and Love? Poppovich is a fair point but it’s not like Spoelstra hasn’t proven his coaching merit post-LeBron.

    Mike




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  8. James Joyner says:

    @MBunge: Kobe is an all-time great but he wasn’t even the best player on his own team for his first three titles. LeBron took a Cleveland team with random dudes from the crowd to the Finals one year. The next four years, he took a Miami team with an injured Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to the Finals, winning twice. The next three years, he took the Cavs back to the Finals with injuries to Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, or both, winning one. Kobe never did anything without at least one other Hall of Famer on the roster.




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  9. wr says:

    @MBunge: “Yeah, that’s not what people were saying in 2008 before the Celtics beat the Lakers for the title.”

    Big Kobe fan here… but honestly, “what you’re saying can’t be true because other people said something different a decade ago” is probably the worst argument you’ve ever attempted, and considering your constant stream of ludicrous Trump defenses, that’s saying something.

    On the other hand, you actually responded to a refutation for once in your life, so that’s a good thing.




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  10. James Pearce says:

    @MBunge:

    The thing that really elevates Duncan is if anyone were starting a team, would they take Ginobili and Parker over Wade and Bosh or Kyrie and Love?

    I would, in a heartbeat. The Spurs haven’t missed the playoffs in 20 years. Go back fifteen years. Go back ten years. Go back five years. Who’s there?

    Duncan, Ginobili, Parker, Pop. They might be the GOAT team, but I don’t know the math works to pick one of them as the GOAT player.

    @James Joyner:

    The next three years, he took the Cavs back to the Finals with injuries to Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, or both, winning one.

    That last Finals performance is what I was thinking about when I used the word “inspirational.” Lebron seemingly took the team on his back and carried them through the series alone.

    Also, first time ever that a team down 3 games came back to win Game 7. That never happens.




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  11. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @MBunge: Really….., 3 of those Finals trophies are Shaqs. Alone. Those Lakers teams would have won those finals with any all-star caliber guard in place of Kobe. Do you think they would have won with any all-star caliber Center not named Shaquille Oneil?

    Kobe can legitimately claim credit for a 2-2 Finals record….over a forgettable Magic team and an aging Celtic team.




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  12. wr says:

    @Jim Brown 32: Sure, and John Lennon wrote all the good Beatles songs while Paul was a hack holding him down.

    Kobe and Shaq were the brilliant core of a great team. Why can’t we just accept that instead of saying “no, Spiderman could so beat up Batman.”




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  13. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @wr: Because we are making a comparison with one member of the core to another individual. If we had to compare McCartney to Micheal Jackson…we have to consider them as individuals apart from their teams. Hypothesizing what the Beatles may have sounding like with Jackson as lead…and how the Jackson 5 might have sounded with McCartney as lead is a valid tool of comparison.




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  14. EddieInCA says:

    @James Joyner: @MBunge: @James Pearce:

    Dr. Joyner – You’re out of your mind.

    1. LeBron has spent his entire career in the Eastern Conference, which has been the weaker conference BY FAR for the last 20 years. Much easier going against the weak conference year in year out.

    2. Kobe won two titles with Pau Gasol and a bunch of scrubs.

    3. LeBron had to hook up with two top ten players (D-Wade and C-Bosh) to win his first title, and if not for a Ray Allen three pointer and Draymond Green getting banned for a game, he’s 1-8 in finals.

    3. Michael Jordan himself said the Kobe is better than LeBron.

    4. Kobe scored 81.

    Mic drop.

    Mamba out.




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  15. James Joyner says:

    @EddieInCA: It’s certainly true that the Eastern Conference has been thinner in recent years. Otherwise:

    Pao Gasol is a lock for the Hall of Fame

    D-Wade was past his prime and generally injured down the stretch. Ditto, unfortunately, Bosh.

    Jordan likely sees more of himself in Kobe, has an incentive to weaken LeBron’s case given that he’s much more apt to be considered his top rival, and, in any event, isn’t looking at the advanced analytics.

    Kobe was criticized throughout his career for being a ball hog. LeBron’s stats are as impressive as they are despite his tendency to spread the shots out to his teammates.




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