20 years ago, LeBron James made his NBA debut as the youngest player on the court.
He is now the oldest player in the league.
The kid from Akron — as James still calls himself — is no longer a kid, and the 38-year-old enters this season as the NBA’s most senior player. He ranked just third on this list last season, behind Udonis Haslem (who played his final game two days shy of his 43rd birthday) and Andre Igoo Darla (retired at 39).
James isn’t the youngest rookie player in the league; Darko Milicic was the second overall pick in the 2003 draft, one behind James and a few months younger than James. Milicic made his debut two days after James.
Here are James’ numbers as he begins his 21st NBA season, his first as the league’s elder statesman:
Chasing Karim again
Just like last year, when James was chasing the league’s all-time scoring record, he was chasing the scoring record held by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Abdul-Jabbar averaged 23.4 points per game in the 1985-86 season. This is the single-season scoring average for the league’s oldest player. That year, Abdul-Jabbar turned 39.
Abdul-Jabbar spent five seasons as the league’s oldest player. He is the only “oldest player” to average 20 points per game in a single season; Abdul-Jabbar did it twice, also averaging 22 points per game in the 1984-85 season.
James has never averaged less than 20.9 points per game in a season (that was his rookie year) and averaged 28.9 points per game last season.
20 in 39
Only two players have averaged 20 points per game in a season at age 39 or older. On December 30, James will celebrate his 39th birthday.
Both incidents occurred during the 2002-03 season. Karl Malone averaged 20.6 points per game at age 39, and Michael Jordan averaged exactly 20.0 points per game in his age-40 season.
James is entering his 21st NBA season.
No one has averaged more than 7.4 points per game in their 21st NBA season; Vince Carter did it in 2018-19, the same season Dirk Nowitzki averaged 7.3 points per game.
In addition to Carter and Nowitzki, only four players have actually played in the 21st season – Moses Malone, Kevin Garnett, Kevin Willis and Robert Parish.
James has set records for points per game in a player’s 18th, 19th and 20th seasons.
all star level
The “oldest player” in the NBA season has been selected to the All-Star Game 13 times. It happened five times to Abdul-Jabbar, three times to John Havlicek, Larry Costello, Slater Martin, Bobby Wanzer, Johnny Green and Robert Parry Happens every time.
Parrish is the latest player to receive this honor. In 1991, at the age of 37, he was selected as an All-Star.
James is a 19-time All-Star, tied with Abdul-Jabbar for the most All-Star selections in NBA history. James played in all 19 games; a record for All-Star appearances, one more than Abdul-Jabbar.
Unless something shocking happens, it’s reasonable to assume James is averaging at least 10 points per game this season.
“Oldest Player” hasn’t done this in a long time.
John Stockton is the oldest player in the NBA to average double figures in points last season. He averaged 10.8 points per game for the Utah Jazz in the 2002-03 season. Stockton was 41 years old that season; he spent two years as the league’s oldest player and missed zero games during that time.
The closest player to double-digit scoring since then was Shaquille O’Neal, who averaged 9.2 points in 2010-11, his final season and his only season as the league’s oldest player.
What is the average level?
On average, the NBA’s “oldest players” average 7.8 points per game.
Abdul-Jabbar set the 1985-86 season with a record 23.4 points; seven players averaged less than 1 point per game, led by Mike Novak (0.2 points per game) (he averaged 23.4 points in five games). one free throw in a game) was the lowest mark set in the 1953-54 season.
James will become the 43rd player in NBA history to win the title of “Oldest Player” in the league.
Most players – 26 of the top 42 players – only held the crown for one year. That includes Paul Silas, who was James’ first NBA coach when he entered the league with Cleveland at age 18.
Some have earned the title of “Oldest Player” under the most unusual circumstances; Bob Cousy was the league’s oldest player to play seven games in the 1969-70 season because he After a brief comeback after retiring six years ago, Nat Hickey – the league’s oldest player ever – is a coach who played two games with the Providence Steamrollers . 1948, 45 years old. I’ve already scored two points.
Robert Parish is the oldest player in the league with seven seasons, the most in NBA history. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s five consecutive championship seasons; four seasons with Elvin Hayes and Vince Carter; Kevin Willis, Larry Costello, Dee Kembe Mutombo, Johnny Green, Udonis Haslem, John Havlicek and Al Cervi for three seasons; Slater Martin, Dolph Schayes, Bobby Wanzer, Andre Miller and John Stockton all achieved the feat in two seasons.
Others who eventually became the league’s oldest player in a single season include Silas, Cousy, Hickey, Lenny Wilkens, Shaquille O’Neal, Grant Hill, Steve Nash, Dale… Ellis and Sam Perkins.
James is 1,348 points short of the 40,000-point mark in his regular season career this season.
At his current scoring average — about 27 points per game for his career and about 29 points per game last season — James would need about 47 to 50 games this season to reach the 40,000-point mark.
That means James could reach that milestone in late January or early February if he doesn’t miss games in the meantime.
AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba