lebron james is Renowned for his uncanny ability to remember specific moments from any point during his professional basketball career, be it minutes or years ago.
But when asked earlier this week about the milestone he reached Thursday (16 years and 1,125 regular-season games without scoring fewer than 10 points), James was stumped.
“Really?” he told ESPN. “I do not remember”.
It turns out that James is not alone.
The game that no one seems to remember? It was a 95–86 Cleveland Cavaliers road win over the Milwaukee Bucks on January 5, 2007, during James’ fourth NBA season.
His line: nine assists, five rebounds, 3-of-13 shooting from the field in 43 minutes.
and eight points.
“When I went to see the boxscore, I thought, ‘Well, maybe I had a good game,'” said Donnell Marshall, now an assistant with the G League’s Greensboro Swarm and a forward on that team for the Cavaliers since 2006-07. , told ESPN. “Then I looked at the scorecard and said, ‘Well, I didn’t do anything either.'”
“If you had asked me, ‘Do you remember scoring over 30 and leaving LeBron in the single digit?’ I would expect that kind of memory,” said Drew Gooden, a former Cavaliers forward who now works as an analyst for Washington Wizards broadcasts, with a laugh.
However, there was one person who has a vivid memory of what happened that night: then-Bucks coach Terry Stotts.
“I’ll be honest, I remember that game clearly, and not because LeBron didn’t score a 10,” Stotts said by phone Wednesday morning.
The last play of that Cleveland win, a Michael Redd dunk with 14.8 seconds left, would prove to be the beginning of the end for Stotts’ tenure in Milwaukee.
“Michael dunked in the last seconds of the game,” Stotts told ESPN. “A meaningless dunk. We were down nine.
“But he goes up to dunk the ball, something happened to his knee and he missed the next 20 games … We were 3-17.”
And, just two months later, when Milwaukee entered that Cavaliers game with a .500 mark and had won seven of their last nine games, Stotts was fired. He later went on to have a successful nine-year career coaching the Portland Trail Blazers.
But while the game turned out to be of crucial consequence for the Bucks, for Cleveland it was just another night on the road to a wildly successful season that ended with an NBA Finals loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
So while James’ former teammates can’t remember much about a random January game 16 years ago, the memories of playing with him remain potent.
Gooden said, “I’m amazed at how much he continues to grow and develop and figure things out, with all the weight of the world on his shoulders.”
“He’s a real-life superhero who’s always available.”
for Marshall, who Spending parts of three seasons with James as part of a career that saw him play for eight different teams, his lasting memory of James was as someone who from an early age Was dedicated to improving himself and learning the history of the game.
Marshall said, “I played with a lot of superstars, but never had anyone studied the game the way I was.” “As soon as the game was over, I wanted to watch the recording.
“For me, not many people are students of the game today. Not many people knew the players who played before him, who paved the way for him. However, he is one person who knows the style of Oscar Robertson. .Know Kareem’s (Abdul-Jabbar) stats. He knows Wilt Chamberlain’s stats.
Meanwhile, Gooden said what was most different for him was that James, every moment of his life under a basketball microscope since his high school days at St. Vincent-St. Mary in Akron, Ohio has always stood up for the moments that came her way.
Gooden said, “Just that he’s always figuring it out.” “Just being able to produce under pressure. I’ve known him since I was 15, so it’s a different perspective knowing him for 26 years…
“He had this Nike campaign, that’s how we saw his greatness. Well, we’ve all been witnesses. It’s like that. It’s that, and a lot more.”
To put James’ streak into perspective: Marshall played 957 games over 15 NBA seasons. Meanwhile, Gooden has scored 790 runs in 14 years in the league. That’s a lot longer and a lot more games than the average career of an NBA player.
“In fact, it’s more surprising that he scored less than 10 points than it is to say he hasn’t in 16 years,” Marshall said. “Early in your career, your rookie year, you’re going to have some games where you can’t score more than 10. But the greatness he’s shown and everything he’s done, I would say more than Surprised he had less than 10 points an I play, so the streak surprised me”.
Former Cavaliers guard Daniel Gibson, on the other hand, was a rookie that season. When asked about playing alongside James, Gibson was immediately reminded of his pre-draft drills in 2006, when he was selected with the 42nd pick by Cleveland. overall selection.
“At first I thought, ‘It’s just another one of those records that’s kind of made up,’ but then I realized it’s not. It’s a real record.”
LeBron James on his streak of 1,125 regular season games with at least 10 points
“I had a terrible workout in Houston, and then the Cavs was my second workout,” Gibson, now an assistant coach with the G League’s Cleveland Charge, told ESPN. “[LeBron]was there and I did amazing.
“After training, he came up to me and gave me all the confidence in the world. He being LeBron James, waiting for (just) a roster shot, the last thing you expect is for him to tell you that he would love it if I were still available on his roster.
“He gave me a lot of confidence and that’s what I learned about him from the day I came to CA, man. He was, to me, the best athlete in the world, and yet he was the first person in the gym, the last one to leave.”
For his part, James said he doesn’t pay much attention to the regular-season game streak, adding that whenever it appears on his social media schedule or is mentioned in the media, it’s something that it happens.
And, he said, when he looks at the score at halftime, his point total isn’t something he focuses on.
“I look at it,” James said, “but what I look at most are our team’s turnovers, the other team’s turnover points, our opponents’ fast-break points, my personal turnovers.
“It’s more or less. I don’t look at the sum of the numbers too much.”
closest to james The streak was about to be broken on March 20, 2021, when he collapsed on the court in pain and frustration after spraining his ankle after landing on Atlanta Hawks forward Solomon Hill.
For a while it seemed that he could not continue playing. But he managed to hang on long enough to hit a 3-pointer to within 10 points before a timeout was called and the game was abandoned.
This would be the last game James would play in for over a month, although he said he was unaware at the time he made the 3-pointer.
“Not until after the game,” James said.
Another notable moment during the streak came during the 2017–18 regular season finals against the New York Knicks, where James, who aimed to play all 82 games, was quickly eliminated from contention after scoring exactly 10 points in 11 minutes. .
While James’ double-digit scoring streak has become more significant over time, notably surpassing Michael Jordan’s previous record of 866 consecutive regular-season games in the Cavaliers’ win over the New Orleans Pelicans on March 30, 2018, After, it was never something he even thought of trying to achieve.
“I was like, ‘Oh, that’s great,'” James said, referring to crossing Jordan. “At first I thought, ‘It’s just another one of those records that’s made up,’ but then I realized it’s not. It’s like a real record. But I don’t know. I’m just out I go and play
“When I get it, it’s the same with the all-time scoring record. Not even (I pointed to him)… It’s pretty cool. I mean, I’m sitting here watching it.” Couldn’t say, ‘Oh, that doesn’t make any sense. Because it’s important. But I wasn’t ready to do it.’
Whether James intends to make it or not, 16 years later he’s still doing so, edging closer to breaking Abdul-Jabbar’s seemingly insurmountable mark as the league’s all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points. .
However, it also gives Gooden a chance to show his 10-year-old son, Drew Gooden IV, that his dad knows a thing or two about playing for one of the greats.
“I’ll show my son this boxscore,” Gooden said with a smile, adding that his son asks about James “all the time”.
“He tells me, ‘Did you talk to LeBron? Did you know it’s his birthday today?'” Gooden continued. “He’s a big LeBron fan, and now he’s getting to the age where He knows it’s the truth, because he has data to back it up.
“There are some historic nights when I was with him. But I never thought there would be a historic night where he scored in single digits and I had 31.”