LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers routed the Boston Celtics last night to clinch the Eastern Conference title. It wasn’t even close. It’s LeBron’s 7th straight NBA Finals, a feat only accomplished by Bill Russell. But it’s not what everyone is talking about.
Last night LeBron also surpassed Michael Jordan as the NBA’s all-time playoff scoring leader. And you know that anytime LeBron has the chance to challenge Air Jordan in anything, he brings it.
Lebron scored 35 points on 13-18 shooting (4-7 3PT). He also had 8 boards, 8 assists, 3 steals and a block. But the points bring LeBron to 5,995 career playoff points, passing Jordan’s all-time record of 5,987.
It is important to note that Thursday’s game vs. Boston was LeBron’s 212th playoff game. Jordan reached his mark in 179 games, averaging 33.4 points in the process.
LeBron lovers could also argue that The King makes up for his lower points-per-game total by out-rebounding (8.8 per vs. 6.4) and assisting (6.8 per vs. 5.7) MJ. What isn’t arguable is that LeBron is certainly one of the greatest players of all-time at this point, no matter how you slice it, even if he can’t defeat the All-Star stacked Warriors for the second straight year.
Jordan’s playoff record stood for twenty years. It’s likely to be shattered, considering LeBron is only 32 years-old. Of course Jordan also took two years off to play baseball in the prime of his career ….
LeBron is still calm, cool and collected while chasing the ghost of MJ
“I wear the number because of Mike,” James said of the No. 23 on his uniform. “I think I fell in love with the game because of Mike, just because of what he was able to accomplish. When you’re watching Michael Jordan it’s almost like a god. So I didn’t think I could be Mike.”
“For my name to come up in the discussion with the greatest basketball player of all time, it’s like, ‘Wow,’ ” James said. “Like I said, I did pretty much everything that MJ did when I was a kid. I shot fadeaways before I should have. I wore a leg sleeve on my leg and folded it down so you saw the red part. I wore black and red shoes with white socks. I wore short shorts so you could see my undershorts underneath. I didn’t go bald like Mike, but I’m getting there. But [my baldness] will be post-career, though. That’s the only thing I didn’t do. But other than that, I did everything Mike did. I even wore a wristband on my forearm. I didn’t do the hoop earring, either. That was Mike. But I did everything Mike did, man.
“I wanted to be Mike, so for my name to come up in any discussion with Michael Jordan or Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] or all these guys that’s paved the ways for Tristan [Thompson] and Kevin [Love], myself and Swish [Smith], it’s a wow factor. I don’t really have anything to say.”
LeBron also ranks in the top 10 in playoff rebounds (7th), assists (3rd) and steals (2nd).
Josh Helmuth is the editor of Crave Sports.