It’s safe to assume LeBron James enjoyed his 29th birthday yesterday.
Not only did the Miami Heat extend their seasonal record to 24-7 following the 97-94 victory over the Denver Nuggets- in which James scored 26 points- but the birthday boy further cemented his place on the road to becoming the greatest NBA star of all time.
That’s right, according to For The Win, James has better stats than both Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan did by the time they were 29; an achievement that perhaps foreshadows a shift in the public perception of which basketball icon really is the best to have ever taken to the court.
To date the Miami Heat’s power-forward has scored 21,819 points in 794 games.
Accompanying that he has 5,754 rebounds to his name, as well as 5,491 assists, 1,363 steals and 658 blocks. He’s also a four-time MVP and has won two NBA championships.
In contrast his perennial rival, the Lakers’ legend Kobe Bryant, had amassed 19,296 points in 784 games by the time he was 29. He also had 4,073 rebounds, 3,561 assists, 1,170 steals but only 467 blocks. Bryant hadn't won any MVP awards, but was a three time NBA champion.
And it’s maybe the last set of stats that speak the most about James’ potential to end on top of the pile by the time he finishes his career.
By his 29th birthday Michael Jordan, widely regarded as the greatest of all time, had 18,073 points from 559 games with 3,502 rebounds, 3,323 assists, 1,525 steals and 603 blocks. On top of this Jordan boasted two MVP awards and one NBA title.
Obviously it’s a question that only ultimately be decided when James’ career can be reflected upon after he has finished playing, but if these stats are to hold any measurable value the Miami Heat star could well finish as at least the best NBA player of all time in terms of numbers.