LeBron James is officially the all-time leader in playoff points.
The comparisons to Michael Jordan have been following LeBron James since he entered the NBA in 2003. Jordan was so much of an inspiration to James, it’s the reason why he wears No. 23 today.
During his rookie season, James averaged 20.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists. He became the first player to average 20-5-5 since Jordan. This was the first of many stats that James and Jordan would find each other sharing.
Fast forward to the present, James finds himself eclipsing Jordan for first on the all-time postseason scoring list. The feat came during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics.
While it took James more games to get the record, he also accomplished it on 120 fewer shots than Jordan.
Chasing the “Ghost of Chicago,” has been a personal goal of James since he made it public last summer. He was asked about the comparisons during the Cavaliers’ shootaround this morning.
“It’s just a personal goal of mine,” James said on Thursday. “It has nothing to do with passing the rings, passing the points, passing the MVPs. It’s just my personal goal to keep me motivated – that’s all.”
James and Jordan have two different playing styles. Jordan was a pure scorer. James is a playmaker at heart, no matter how many scoring records he breaks. James’ skillset can be compared to that of a swiss army knife. He can score when needed, he can crash the glass and grab rebounds and most notably, he’s one of the best passers the league has ever witnessed.
Some broadcasters believe James will never surpass Jordan’s overall legacy simply because of his 3-4 NBA Finals record. Jordan went unblemished (6-0) and never let a Finals series reach a Game 7. Others will never let James off the hook for his disappointing performance during the 2011 NBA Finals, in which his Miami Heat lost in six games to the Dallas Mavericks.
In his defense, he has a pretty compelling case for “greatest of all time” debates. James has three championships and three Finals MVPs, and could win a fourth for each if the Cavaliers manage to defeat the Golden State Warriors next month. He is a four-time regular season MVP, and could have more if it wasn’t for voters’ fatigue.
With the win against the Celtics, James has managed to reach his seventh consecutive NBA Finals. Jordan never experienced a streak of this magnitude. Maybe if he didn’t retire in order to play baseball, he would’ve done the same.
It would be utter dominance if James manages to win three more championships. Even if he doesn’t, he ended a 52-year title drought for the city of Cleveland. He led the Cavaliers to their first title in franchise history.
And now he is the all-time leader in playoff points, and counting. How long can he keep this high level of performance up? Only time will tell.