Lakers News: Nuggets’ Michael Malone Marvels At LeBron James’ Greatness
LeBron James, Lakers, Nuggets
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James set another huge milestone against the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night when he became the first player in NBA history to reach 40,000 points.

James went into the game needed just nine points to hit the mark and he achieved the feat early in the second quarter off his patented spin move layup.

The King has been nothing short of amazing during the 2023-24 season, but even he has to admit he outdid himself hitting 40,000 points. Nuggets head coach Michael Malone may have been on the other end of history, but he couldn’t help but gush about what James has done throughout his career.

“I don’t get caught up in the number per say, but you just have to marvel at the continued greatness,” Malone said. “There’s so many stories of guys coming out of high school who had all this hype. All the hype, ‘He’s the next so and so,’ and they never pan out. How he has handled the fame at such an early age, the spotlight, just to do what he’s doing at this stage of his career and it doesn’t appear that he’s slowing down at all, which is even scarier.

“But when you take a step back, you just have to marvel at the longevity. He’s not just playing at this stage, he’s playing effectively. I’m sure for him, that will be his decision down the road probably in five or six years – am I still playing effectively? And he is. So you marvel at the 40,000, the records, the milestones, the accomplishments, the championships.”

Malone, who was an assistant with the Cleveland Cavaliers for five years during LeBron’s first stint, also lauded James for his dedication and commitment to putting in the work to be great.

“One thing I always speak about when talking about LeBron, you hear these stories about certain players and their unbelievable work ethic. Maybe it’s because he’s a freak athlete. Yeah, he’s a freak athlete, but he’s scored 40,000 points because he’s also really skilled and he puts so much time into his game and his craft and his body.”

James has paid his dues in the NBA and he’s being rewarded with praise and adoration from his peers and opponents. What the league is watching is special and shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Michael Malone believes LeBron James and Nikola Jokic have similar basketball IQ

Malone’s got the rare opportunity to coach both Nikola Jokic and James and he identified what makes them so similar.

“Their IQ is eerily similar,” Malone said. “Their ability to read the defense and see things that most people don’t see, you see the analogy that some people are playing checkers and some play chess. Well Nikola and LeBron, they see things before they happen. And they both have the ability to make everyone around them better, which is what for me, defines greatness.”

Both Jokic and James have built their games around their ability to playmake, and it’s the largest reason why they’ll each go down as one of the best players in NBA history.

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