LOS ANGELES ( Associated Press) — At a time in his life when the world’s best athletes are slowing down, LeBron James has decided to step up.
James turned 38 on December 30, in the midst of his 20th NBA season. He celebrated with 47 points against Atlanta and since then the second leading scorer in the NBA has seemed like the old days.
He is averaging 37 points, 9.7 rebounds and 8.6 assists since his 38-game streak with the Los Angeles Lakers. Monday’s 140-132 win over Houston.
Older golfers take pride in having markers that match their age.
James is practically matching his numbers over the years with his scores against the best basketball players in the world — and even more so for all the things he’s done to redefine the bar for greatness. The current streak is something special.
“He’s on an incredible pace and it’s obvious,” said Lakers coach Devin Ham.
James Kareem is as close as Abdul-Jabbar to the leading scorer in NBA history as he carries a lot of responsibility for the Lakers, at least until Anthony Davis recovers from his latest injury.
And the star has done so despite being reminded of her age.
More regularly, James is playing against the sons of players he faced early in his career, including Rockets youngsters Jabari Smith Jr. and Kenyon Martin Jr.
“Hey, you played my dad in your first NBA game!” Smith Jr. told James on the court in a conversation captured on NBA TV cameras.
“I felt very old when Junior said that to me,” James assured with a smile. “I think she also said something like, ‘You must be old.’
Smith Sr. and Smith Jr. were both watching their sons — and James’ 18-year-old son, Brony, goes to the same Los Angeles high school where Martin Jr. played. James has encountered another former fellow Bronnie, Zaire Williams of Memphis.
James said, “It’s unique for me to have stood the test of time, like I’ve been able to compete against a father and son combination.”
The night before he was on fire against the Rockets, James reached 38,000 career points in a 113–112 loss to Philadelphia.
The win against Houston came in his 1,400th game, the 11th most in NBA history. And if he stays healthy, he could reach Robert Parish’s record of 1,611 games when his contract with the Lakers expires in 2025.