At 29, James' numbers are off the charts

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 30, 2013 at 3:19 am •  Published: December 30, 2013
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MIAMI (AP) — If the number of an NBA player's birthday candles were proportionate to his point total, then Miami Heat star LeBron James would need help putting out the fire atop his red velvet cake.

The four-time MVP turns 29 on Monday, with 21,819 points.

No other NBA player has ever scored more points by that age.

Granted, the youngest-to-score comparisons are a terrible measure because not everyone enters the NBA at 18 like James. It took James 726 games to score 20,000 points; it took Wilt Chamberlain a mere 499. Michael Jordan had nearly 4,000 fewer points on his 29th birthday, neither Kareem Abdul-Jabbar nor Oscar Robertson were even to the 17,000-point mark yet and Karl Malone was still a few games shy of scoring his 15,000th point.

Still, where James is now begs the question: Exactly how high on the scoring list will he be before taking a jersey off for the last time?

He passed No. 30 Gary Payton and No. 31 Larry Bird on the career scoring list last week — in the same game, no less. He'll likely catch Clyde Drexler to become No. 28 sometime in January. It's not beyond realistic realms of possibility that James could be one of the game's top 10 career scorers by the end of the 2015-16 season.

By then, he'll only be 32.

And all the points have come with him often passing up shots for assists. He's currently nine shy of 5,500 of those for his career. Among players who were listed at 6-foot-8 or taller, only Magic Johnson, Scottie Pippen, Bird and Abdul-Jabbar have more.

James often speaks of how he wants to be considered the greatest to ever play the game. The numbers suggest he's got a shot.



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