LeBron James is Renowned for his remarkable ability to recall specific moments that happened minutes or even years ago, from any point in his professional basketball career.
But when asked earlier this week about the milestone he reached on Thursday, James was baffled.
“Really?” he told ESPN. “I don’t remember.”
It turns out James isn’t the only one.
A game no one seems to remember? It was his January 5, 2007, James’ fourth season in the NBA, his 95–86 road win of the Cleveland Cavaliers against the Milwaukee Bucks.
His line: 9 assists, 5 rebounds, 3/13 shooting from the field in 43 minutes.
And 8 points.
“When I went to see the box score, I was like, ‘Well, maybe Me We played a good game,” Donyell Marshall, now an assistant to the Greensboro Swarm of the G League and a forward on the 2006-07 Cavaliers team, told ESPN.
“If you ask me, ‘Do you remember when LeBron was in the single digits at age 30?’ Drew Gooden, who works as an analyst for the broadcast, told ESPN with a laugh.
But one person remembered what happened that night vividly. My name is Terry Stotts, who was the coach of the Bucks at the time.
“To be honest, I remember that game very clearly. It wasn’t because LeBron didn’t score 10 points,” Stotts said by phone Wednesday morning.
The final play of that Cleveland win (Michael Redd’s dunk with 14.8 seconds remaining) turned out to be the beginning of the end of Stotts’ tenure in Milwaukee.
“Michael dunked in the last seconds of the game,” Stotts told ESPN. “Pointless dunk. Nine points behind.
“[But] He went up to dunk the ball, did something to his knee and missed the next 20 games. …we he was 3-17. ”
And just over two months later, Stotts was fired after Milwaukee entered a Cavaliers game with a .500 record and won seven of his previous nine games.
But while the game turned out to have big consequences for the Bucks, it was just another night on the road to a hugely successful season for Cleveland, losing to the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals. did.
So while James’ former teammate didn’t remember much about that random match in January 16 years ago, his memory of playing with him is still vivid.
“I’m amazed at how much he continues to grow and figure things out with the burden of the world on his shoulders,” Gooden said.
“He’s a real-life superhero, always available.”
for marshall Played part of three seasons with James as part of a career that saw him play for eight different teams. James’ lasting memory of him was someone who, from a very young age, was dedicated to improving and knowing the history of the game.
“I’ve played with a lot of superstars, but none of them learned the game from their age,” Marshall said. “As soon as the game was over, he wanted it. [to watch] movie.
“For me, many people today aren’t necessarily students of the game. Many didn’t know the players who played before him. He knows Kareem. [Abdul-Jabbar’s] statistics. He knows Wilt Chamberlain’s stats. ”
Gooden, on the other hand, said what stood out for him was the way James has been at every point in his life under the basketball microscope, dating back to his high school days in St. Vincent. Mary, who lives in Akron, Ohio, has always encountered the moment placed before her.
“He just always gets it,” Gooden said. “Being able to produce under pressure. I’ve known him since he was 15, so it’s a different perspective than knowing him for over 26 years..
“He was running a campaign for Nike about how we were witnesses to his greatness. Well, we were all witnesses. That’s it. And more.”
In an overview of James’ winning streak, Marshall appeared in 957 games in 15 NBA seasons. Goodden, on the other hand, in his 14 years in the league he played 790 times. This is much, much longer than the average his NBA player career.
“It’s actually more amazing that he scored less than 10 points than it is to say he hasn’t done it in 16 years,” Marshall said. “There will be games where he doesn’t score more than 10. But given the greatness he’s shown and all that he’s accomplished, I’m surprised he’s won every game he’s scored 10 or less.” talked.
Meanwhile, former Cavaliers guard Daniel Gibson was a rookie that season. When asked about playing alongside James, Gibson immediately recalled his pre-draft training prior to the 2006 draft, where he was drafted 42nd overall by Cleveland.
“It was the worst training in Houston, but it was the second time the Cavaliers have trained,” Gibson, now an assistant coach with the G League’s Cleveland Charge, told ESPN. [LeBron] Being there, I did a great job.
“After a workout, he came up to me and gave me all the confidence in the world. Because he’s LeBron James, you [just] I would like an opportunity to be on the roster – Needless to say, he wants to be on their roster if I’m still available.
“He instilled a lot of confidence in me. That’s what I learned about him from the day I got to the Cavaliers. Jim, come out last.”
“At first I thought, ‘This is just one of those fake records,’ but then I realized it wasn’t. It’s like the real thing.”
LeBron James has scored 10 or more points in 1,125 regular-season games
James said he didn’t pay much attention to his regular season game streak, and noticed it whenever it popped up on his social media timeline or was mentioned in the media.
And he said his points total isn’t what he counts when looking at box scores at halftime.
James said, “But what I look most at is our team’s turnovers, the points from the opposing team’s turnovers, the opponent’s rush points and my own turnovers.
“That’s about it. I don’t see the total score much.”
closest james The streak came to break on March 20, 2021, when he collapsed onto the court in pain and frustration after spraining his ankle after landing on Atlanta Hawks forward Solomon Hill.
For a while it looked like he couldn’t keep playing. However, he was able to stay long enough to hit his 3-pointer and score his 10 points before calling a timeout and ending the game.
It turned out to be James’ last game in over a month, but James said he was unaware of the impact of his 3-pointer at the time.
“Until the game is over,” James said.
Another notable moment in the winning streak was the 2017-18 regular season finale against the New York Knicks. James had a goal of appearing in all of his 82 games, but he quickly left the contest after he scored exactly 10 points in 11 minutes.
James’ double-digit scoring streak has become a bigger issue over time since the Cavaliers beat the New Orleans Pelicans on March 30, 2018, surpassing Michael Jordan’s record of 866 straight regular-season games. , which he never thought he would achieve.
“I was like, ‘Oh, that’s pretty cool,'” James said, referring to passing Jordan. It’s like a real record, but you don’t know, you just go out and play.”
“It’s the same as the all-time scoring record when I got it. [aimed for it] … so cool. I mean, I can’t just sit here and be like, “Well, that doesn’t mean anything.” Because it does. But I didn’t mean to do that. I did not do it. “
Whether or not James was aiming to achieve it, 16 years later he still does, and is the league’s all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points, a once seemingly insurmountable achievement. Little by little we are getting closer to breaking the mark of Abdul-Jabbar.
But for Gooden, it’s a chance to prove to his 10-year-old son, Drew Gooden IV, that his father actually knows a thing or two about playing with one of the great players. Gives.
“I’ll show my son the box scores,” Gooden said with a laugh, adding that his son “always” asks about James.
“He’ll say to me, ‘Did you talk to LeBron? Did you know it’s his birthday today?'” Gooden continued. “He’s a huge LeBron fan and he’s old enough to know it’s true because he has the data to back it up.
“I had a historic night with him. But I never thought it would be a historic night where he scored single figures and I scored 31.”