I’ll start with this. I am not a basketball fan. If I’m being honest, I HATE basketball. I find it boring, and I don’t waste my time watching any of the games. The only time I consume basketball in any extended form is when I have a middle school basketball class once a week at school. And I’d rather watch that than the NBA. My hatred of the game comes from two places. First, my older brother used to play, and as a kid I was dragged to all of his games. Second, my dad used to say this about the NBA, “I wouldn’t watch pro basketball if they were playing in my driveway.”
WIth that out of the way, let’s get into the point of this blog.
I guess LeBron James broke the all time NBA scoring record last night. A big achievement I’m told. Since I was awake at 4:22am, I decided to at least look into this story.
As little as I know about basketball, I knew that before LeBron broke the record, the scoring record was held by all time LA Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. I won’t get bogged down in the numbers, but know it is more than 30,000 points. As a guy who scored 4 points in his basketball career, it’s a lot.
Since I had more time to kill, I looked at the box score for the game last night and that peaked my interest. I decided to look at the differences between LeBron and Kareem when they broke the record. What I found was interesting in my opinion.
Let’s start with the obvious things like the dates. LeBron broke the record last night, which was February 7th, 2023. Kareem broke the record on April 5th, 1984. Nothing glaring there. The NBA season feels like an eternity so I’m not surprised the moths are a little different.
Then we get to what happened in the game itself. On the night Kareem broke the record back in ‘84, the LA Lakers beat the Sacramento Kings by a score of 112 to 97. A good win I’d say. Meanwhile last night, LeBron’s Lakers lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder 133-130. Two things stick out here. The first is how many more points are scored now compared to back then. But I get that. The game changes, so it’s not shocking that someone from this era broke the record. That doesn’t take anything away from the record. Just stating a fact. The other thing that I noticed was the fact that Kareem’s Lakers won the game, and LeBron’s team lost. WIth all of the celebration of LeBron breaking the record, the result of the game got lost in all of the hero worship.
Another big difference is when these guys started playing. Kareem started when he was 22. LeBron began his career at the ripe old age of 19. I’m no mathematician but I think that is 3 years difference. Not a huge difference, but LeBron got a bit of a head start in the scoring column. Again, not LeBron’s fault, but it needs to be said.
Those little things aren’t indictments on LeBron. Things just happen sometimes, but there is one big difference here that people are overlooking.
That difference is less about last night or April 5th, 1984. It is more about the seasons those things took place. Thankfully, we can look at the 83-84 season as a whole. It was almost 30 years ago and we know, or can look up, what happened. That year, the Lakers did, alright I suppose. They won the Western Conference and lost to the Celtics in game 7 of the Finals. A solid year I’d say. Ok the history lesson is over, let’s take a look at what’s happening right now.
LeBron and his Lakers are currently 28-30. Again, not sure about basketball, but in every other sport 2 games under .500 isn’t great. Especially if you have one of the best players ever on your team.The bigger issue here is that the Lakers are currently 3rd to last in the Western Conference. If the season ended today, they’d miss the playoffs. That blows my mind. For those that don’t know, there are 30 teams in the NBA and 16 of them make the playoffs. That’s more than half the teams. Currently, the Lakers are not in the top half of the NBA. Embarrassing for a team with the “Best Player Ever” if you asked me.
Listen, I’m not trying to belittle LeBron’s scoring record. It’s a great thing and he’s a great player. I, like a lot of people, am just sick of the worship the media gives this guy. He’s not the best thing since sliced bread. He’s a great basketball player and what seems to be a bad team. That’s it. Just like Tom Brady was this year. Except Brady’s team actually made the playoffs…
Anyways, I’m done with my basketball analysis. You basketball wonks can tell me I’m wrong all you want. I’m not going to argue with you. I don’t know stats nor will exert any energy looking them up more than I already have. Save your tweets and comments.
For those who share my opinion of basketball, we will return to your regularly scheduled blog programming shortly. Stay tuned.