On a recent Monday, LeBron James, of the Los Angeles Lakers, etched his name deeper into the annals of NBA history. Despite his team’s disappointing 138-94 defeat to the Philadelphia 76ers, James’s day will be marked in the record books as the day he surpassed the previous record for the most minutes played in league history.
That prestigious record, previously held by none other than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with 66,297 minutes, now belongs to James. However, following the significant loss, James seemed indifferent to his historical achievement.
The list of players with the most minutes played features several significant names. Karl Malone ranks third, having spent over 62,700 minutes on the court. Other notable players include the Lakers’ legend Kobe Bryant occupying the fourth spot, and the former star of the Dallas Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki, holding the fifth position.
Among active players, Chris Paul is the nearest to James, albeit considerably behind at 28th place with just over 47,700 minutes. NBA fans will have to look further down the list, at the 50th spot to find another currently active player, Kevin Durant.
James’s latest feat is just an addition to his impressive resume, which includes leading the NBA in total postseason minutes played. He has clocked 11,654 playoff minutes, considerably more than second-place holder Tim Duncan’s 9,370. Durant appears again under the category of active players, as the closest competitor to James, ranking 19 with 6,725 minutes.
Last season, another memorable moment was when James outscored Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time scoring record at Crypto.com Arena, a night filled with raw emotions. James initiated the Monday game holding 39,060 career points.
Even at nearly 39-years-old, James continues to be a vital component in the Lakers’ lineup and an icon in the league. He is currently in his 21st NBA season and his sixth donning a Lakers jersey.
In the current season, his statistics read an average of 25.5 points, eight rebounds, and 6.6 assists per game. He plays for almost 34 minutes per game, staying true to his career average, an astounding feat considering his long-standing service in the league.
That fateful game unfolded with the 76ers securing an imposing 44-point victory. One of their star players, Joel Embiid, exemplified why he’s considered one among the best in the league, contributing a phenomenal 30-point triple-double, despite resting for the entire fourth quarter.
Philadelphia controlled the game from the second half onward, limiting the Lakers to a mere 14 points in the final quarter, thereby marking their 12th win for the season.
Despite the disastrous team performance, James again led his team, scoring a team-high 18 points, five of which were assists. His shooting accuracy was noticeable, successfully scoring eight out of twelve field goals.
This defeat placed the Lakers with a season record of 10-8, although they’ve had a relatively successful recent run, winning four out of their last six matches. In the concluding minutes of the game, when the Lakers lagged behind by 27 points, James backtracked from the court.
Although James’s remarkable career is inevitably closer to its conclusion, his playing level remains exceptional. Regardless of how the remainder of this season and his illustrious career unfold, the records he has set – for minutes played and points recorded – are inevitably going to stand the test of time, serving as towering benchmarks for upcoming talent for many years to come.