On Tuesday night, LeBron James accomplished yet another historic feat, breaking Scottie Pippen’s record for most assists ever recorded by an NBA forward. James surpassed Pippen’s total of 6,135 assists in the second quarter against Detroit on a pass that led to a Kevin Love 3-pointer, giving James 6,136 career assists.
What’s even more impressive is that James managed to exceed the Hall of Famer’s total in 288
less contests, doing so in 890 regular-season games as compared to Pippen’s 1,178. Throughout James’s 12-year career, he has averaged 6.9 assists per game, while Pippen averaged 5.2 in his 17-year career.
James’s latest achievement comes on the heels of recently passing Allen Iverson for No. 22 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list last Sunday (and he also passed Charles Barkley for No. 23 all-time earlier in the season, as well).
It’s safe to say while James is in the midst of a milestone campaign, being crowned the assist king is the most special:
“It means way more than what I did passing Allen Iverson on Sunday. I’ve always took a lot of pride and I get more of a rush seeing my teammates succeed more than myself. And that’s what an assist is all about,” James told ESPN. .
Cavaliers head coach David Blatt echoed James’ enthusiasm.
“That’s a fabulous achievement if you ask me,” Blatt spoke in awe in an ESPN report. “He just turned 30. He’s only 30 years old and to set a record like that speaks volumes to the kind of player he is. And to his level of greatness and his ability to make others around him great. That’s so impressive.”
Although he has donned the No. 23 for the majority of his career, James has said that he actually modeled his game after Pippen while growing up and that he always had an amazing appreciation for the way Pippen played the “point forward” position. Like everyone else who was a fan of the NBA at the time, James of course loved Michael Jordan, but felt that he could never be the type of player Jordan was.
“Obviously I looked up to Michael Jordan, that’s someone that gave me a lot of inspiration, but as a kid I never thought I could get to that point,” James said in an ESPN report. “You know, Jordan just felt so surreal.”
Pippen at his peak was comparable to the player that James is now, filling up the stat sheet in a variety of ways on the offensive end while also clamping down an opponent’s best player on the defensive side of the ball. However LeBron has steadily been carving out his own legacy as a unique player in a category of his own. While Pippen’s game may have shared some similarities to James’s, he never reached the level James is at now.
“The assist thing is obviously probably one of the greatest achievements I’ve had in my career,” James said in the same report. “Obviously, winning a championship also, for sure.”
As James continues his campaign of accomplishments this season, hopefully he and his teammates can add a third championship to the list of milestone achievements by season’s end.