LeBron James creates the 40K club, which he’ll populate alone for a long time
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LeBron James creates the 40K club, which he’ll populate alone for a long time

The next player to eclipse 40,000 points in the regular season will have a chance at the title of the NBA’s GOAT simply because the numbers LeBron James will retire with are going to be near impossible to top. It’ll either be someone with freakish longevity, or the most prolific scorer ever. At 40,017 points, 10,847 assists, and 11,046 rebounds and counting, James is setting Jerry Rice-esque marks that’ll flash “GREATNESS” if ever surpassed.

The all-time leading scorer furthered his buffer, posting a 26, 9 and 4 statline in a 124-114 loss to the Denver Nuggets in LA on Saturday night.

It’s easy to be reductive about his accomplishments because LeBron stans are so obnoxious, and James does his best to gas them up. People will point to Michael Jordan’s six titles and claim it’s the most important number, but they’re just saying that because it’s the lone statistical advantage MJ holds.

The only athlete that I can remember being this great this late in his career is Barry Bonds. I know Tom Brady won a Super Bowl however late in his career, and just ran a faster 40 at age 46 than 22, so it’s not like he was posterizing defenders or hitting balls into McCovey Cove. Obviously, Bonds had the cloud of PEDs following him, and I’m not trying to discount that.

I’m just saying he won four MVPs ages 36 through 39, including the record-setting 73 home run season. While Kevin Garnett can toss James in the juice gang with Barry, the only weird thing that’s happened to James’ head is his hairline, so it’s hard to look at those accusations in the same light. It’s not like James ever had a noticeable jump in athleticism. He’s been 6-foot-9, 250 and ran a 4.4 40 since he was 18. That he’s been this physically imposing, without a serious injury, for two decades is what’s mystifying.

However, if I hadn’t watched LBJ walk off turned ankles in real time like he stepped on a Lego, I’d be more suspicious. Every time it happens, it’s like Criss Angel street magic. You can throw the chase down blocks into that category, as well. Whenever that scenario presented itself in the past three seasons, LeBron viewed it as a barometer for making sure he’s still got it.

James logged 37 minutes Saturday night, tied for second most on the team. This is absurd, and I know that he alluded to retirement again recently, but this past week there was a story about him negotiating a three-year contract extension, and I’d feel safe offering it if I were the Lakers.

I could see him playing until 50,000 points and the No. 2 mark in career assists. He’s about 1,200 dimes shy of Jason Kidd, and we know he can see a chessboard as well as any playmaker in the history of the game. So congratulations to LeBron James on yet another milestone. May your latter seasons be filled with enough statistical accomplishments to offset never winning that sixth ring.

Beauty is in the eye of the onlooker, MLS edition

LAFC manager Steve Cherundolo sounded like a real grundle (Cher-grundle-o?) after a 3-0 loss at Real Salt Lake that was played in a blizzard Saturday.

“It was an absolute joke we had to play today,” Cherundolo said after the match. “It was one of the worst professional sporting events I’ve ever seen in my life. I feel terrible for the players that we put them through this. The game could have and should have been called (off). In my opinion, it was an absolute disgrace we had to play today.”

Umm, I couldn’t disagree more. This is MLS, what’s the point if not spectacle?

I mean look at that. It looks like beach soccer but with 3 inches of powder in place of sand. So stop complaining, Grundle, and relish in the fact that grown men were getting paid to play in the snow.

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