Regardless of whether you love him or hate him, it’s apparent that at just 28-years old, Miami Heat superstar LeBron James is already in the discussion for being one of the greatest players in NBA history.
Wednesday night’s 25-point performance in the Heat’s 92-75 win over the Golden State Warriors marked yet another milestone for James, as he became the youngest player to reach 20,000 career points. He also surpassed the 5,000 career assists mark in the game but is not the youngest player to achieve that feat.
James set the record at 28 years and 17 days, which is more than a full year younger than previous record-holder Kobe Bryant, who was 29 and 122 days at the time he reached 20,000 points.
Amidst all the controversy he stirred up by leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to sign with Miami in 2010, James’ individual achievements are unparalleled as the former St. Vincent-St. Mary Irish has been the youngest player to set over 15 different milestones throughout his nine-year career including being the youngest player to reach every thousand-point milestone from 1,000 through 20,000 points.
Here is a look at some other accomplishments James has been the youngest to achieve :
Youngest Player selected No. 1 overall in NBA Draft
Arguably the most anticipated draft pick in NBA history, the Cavaliers couldn’t get their pick to David Stern fast enough to select an 18-year-old James first overall in the 2003 NBA Draft. The Ohio native went on to set a number of franchise records for the Cavs including points, minutes played, field goals and steals in addition to being the youngest player to score 30 points in a regular season game.
Youngest Player to be named Rookie of the Year
After leading the Cavs to their best record in four seasons, James proved that he was worthy of the first overall selection as the phenom ranked in the top five amongst rookies in most major statistical categories including points (20.9), steals (1.6) and assists (5.9). He also became the youngest player to score 40 points in a regular-season game when he scored 41 points against the New Jersey Nets on Mar. 27, 2004. Less than a month later, James beat out fellow rookies Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade to become the youngest player to take home the Rookie of the Year award.
Youngest Player to score 2,000 points in a season
Leading up to the 2004-05 season, many critics were worried that James would be hit with the dreaded sophomore slump, but those worries were short-lived as the then 21-year old led Cleveland to their first winning season in five years and became the youngest player to score 2,000 points in a season and be awarded all-NBA honours. On Jan. 19, 2005 in a game against the Portland Trailblazers, James also became the youngest player to record a triple double by scoring 27 points to go a long with 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
Youngest Player to be named to the All-NBA First Team
The 2005-06 season saw James emerge as a true NBA superstar as the then 21-year old led the Cavaliers to their first 50-win season in over a decade. During that campaign, he became the youngest player to be named to the All-NBA First team in addition to being the youngest player to win the all-star game’s MVP Award. In his first trip to the postseason, James became the youngest player to record a triple-double in the playoffs as he scored 32 points to go along with 11 rebounds and 11 assists against Gilbert Arenas’ Washington Wizards.
Youngest Player to score 2,000 points seven times
After carrying Cleveland throughout the first seven years of his career, James announced that he would be taking his talents to South Beach in an infamous televised broadcast called The Decision. As a member of the Heat, James picked up where he left off in Cleveland as one of the league’s most dominant forces. Although Miami lost in the NBA Finals to the Dallas Mavericks in 2011, that year marked the seventh consecutive season that James scored 2,000 points. Had it not been for a lockout-shortened season in 2011-12, an eighth consecutive year would not have been out of the question (he scored 1,683 points in 62 games). Of course, James made up for that by going on to win the NBA title, regular-season MVP and NBA Finals MVP for the Heat and an Olympic Gold Medal with Team USA at London 2012.
Do you think LeBron James can match Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA record 38,387 career points?