Just when you think you’ve seen it all from LeBron James, the Lakers star goes out and scores 50 points not once, but twice within a week.
In a win over the Warriors on March 5, James led the Lakers to a much-needed victory with 56 points, the second-highest scoring game ever by a player his age. He then exploded for 50 points in a win over the Wizards six days later, becoming the first player his age with multiple 50-point games.
Not bad for a 37-year-old.
We’ve grown accustomed to James doing the unthinkable, but for someone to be playing at this level this late into their career is unheard of.
Here are four numbers that prove James shouldn’t still be this dominant.
With less than a month to go in the season, James finds himself in a three-man race for the scoring title, with him, Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo each averaging 29.7 points per game. Whether or not he will win the scoring title remains to be seen, but James would become the oldest player in NBA history to ever lead the league in scoring if he does.
And it’s not particularly close.
Only six times has anyone over the age of 30 led the league in scoring. Michael Jordan did it three times while Stephen Curry, James Harden and Jerry West each did it once. At the age of 35, Jordan is currently the oldest player in NBA history to lead the league in scoring with 28.7 points per game.
This is your reminder that James turned 37 years old in December.
James has led the league in scoring once before. Back in 2007-08, he averaged 30.0 points per game to take home his first and only scoring title to date.
If James wins the scoring title this season, the 14-year gap would be the longest ever.
To no surprise, Jordan currently holds the record (11), having won his first scoring title in 1986-87 and his last in 1997-98. According to TSN’s Micah Adams, the next longest gap is … six.
The 29.7 points per game James is averaging this season is his most since 2007-08. He was 23 years old that season.
The No. 1 pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, James is now in his 19th season. According to Stathead, his 29.7 points per game are the most anyone has averaged at this stage of their career
Once again, it’s not particularly close.
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Lakers legend Kobe Bryant ranks second with 22.3 points per game, although he appeared in 35 games that season. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dirk Nowitzki, Carmelo Anthony, Karl Malone and John Stockton are the only other players who have ever averaged double-figures scoring in their 19th season.
|1||LeBron James||2021-22||29.7 (48 games)|
|2||Kobe Bryant||2014-15||22.3 (35 games)|
|3||Kareem Abdul-Jabbar||1987-88||14.6 (80 games)|
|4||Dirk Nowitzki||2016-17||14.2 (54 games)|
|5||Carmelo Anthony||2021-22||13.6 (58 games)|
|6||Karl Malone||2003-04||13.2 (42 games)|
|7||John Stockton||2002-03||10.8 (82 games)|
For perspective, only 23 players have ever played 19 seasons in the NBA, and most of them had one foot out the door.
James is now only 136 points from surpassing Malone in second place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. At the rate he’s getting buckets this season, he’ll need only five more games.
James is still a ways away from catching Abdul-Jabbar at No. 1 (1,595 points), but is anyone doubting that he can do it anymore?