Throughout the years, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has wowed fans with not only his athleticism but also his basketball IQ.
Even in Year 20, James continues to shine when he’s on the floor though these days it’s because of how he’s able to manipulate the game to his will.
Playing a familiar foe in Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers, James put up another impressive performance with 35 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists in a losing effort.
Rivers has been coaching against James for a long time, and before the game, he revealed one of his favorite LeBron moments when he knew he was special.
“Well, I have good memories. I’m probably one of the rare coaches that can say that, just through the Celtic stuff. So I got a lot of good memories,” Rivers said. “I’ve said this before, it’s not a favorite memory or anything, but I think it was his first year in Miami. I remember early in the game, we called out a set and he turns around and starts calling out our sets. I turned around to whoever was sitting next to me and I said ‘uh oh, he’s become a student.’ Early on, he was just playing. He was just better than everybody but you could run stuff out of timeouts, you could attack him, you could attack his team even. That last we beat them with the Boston Celtics, and then that next year, that summer there was definitely a switch to him, meaning ‘I got to be better than just a great player, I got to know everything.’ I literally turned and said ‘uh oh, we’re in trouble.’
“Because from that point on, you look at him in games for the next 10 years, you have to run plays away from him to keep him out of plays. He just became very problematic, especially at the end of games and that was with his knowledge. So that’s what, for me, I know that’s kind of a coaching thing but that’s what stands out to me because a lot of guys never graduate to that. I would say most of them don’t. And when they do like him, he’s got it all now.”
In the twilight of his career, James is showing that he doesn’t need other-worldly athleticism to dominate games and there’s no reason to believe he’ll be slowing down any time soon.
The GOAT debate seems like it’s coming down to Michael Jordan or James, though Rivers offered a middle ground when talking about the two basketball legends.
“I think he’s gonna have the greatest career of all time. I think he’s already had it. And I think Michael [Jordan] is the greatest of all time, but that doesn’t take away from LeBron. LeBron has had the greatest career. I guess if my dad was alive he would be staring at me right now yelling ‘Bill Russell!’ But I’m saying numbers and everything wise, has anyone had a better career than LeBron? I can’t think of anyone, so that’s impressive.”
James reaches 38,000-point milestone in loss to 76ers
James is on the verge of passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, although before he can do that, he had to reach 38,000 career points. He needed 11 points to do so against the 76ers on Sunday night and accomplished it in the first quarter, wasting no time.
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