While the GOAT battle between these two rages on, LeBron James has finally tied Michael Jordan in this unique stat comprised of NBA veterans.
For those who continue to debate that LeBron James is better than Michael Jordan, there’s a new statistic to use in heated Twitter arguments.
On Jan. 4, James tied Jordan with a unique marker reserved for NBA greats past 36 years old. Both Jordan and James have picked up at least 25 30-point games since turning 36 years old.
Playing until the age of 39, Malone finished his career with 435 games with 30 or more points. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, an NBA legend whose career is about to be portrayed in a forthcoming HBO series about the 1970s Lakers, retired at age 42 with 429 performances with 30 points or more.
Although he ranks third on most 30+ point games past 36, Michael Jordan tops the list of the most 30+ point performances in his career with an astounding 562 games of 30 or more points, retiring from the game for the third time at age 40. James, who recently turned 37 on Dec. 30, is creeping toward that mark with 491 30+ point games so far.
Michael Jordan and LeBron James are tied for 25 30-point games past age 36
Barring some unforeseen tragedy, James is expected to finish the season at the very least, and more realistically, is expected to play in the NBA for the next few years.
James’ age has started to show more in recent years due to recurring injuries, which have sidelined him significantly this season. Such is the nature of aging for athletes: increased age often brings increased risk of career-ending injury.
However, James is currently healthy and battling it out, putting up 31 points alongside Malik Monk in a stellar 122-114 victory over the Sacramento Kings.
Although it may seem like the Jordan-James tie makes the argument more heated than ever, the Jordan stat deserves some context: Jordan was retired at age 37 and 38, and at age 40, he became the oldest player ever to score 40 points in a game and average 20 points per game — and that was in his final NBA season. And at age 36, of course, he famously retired after his second three-peat.
Still, James has accomplished in one year what Jordan accomplished in his final three NBA seasons. While no singular stat can encapsulate greatness, what this stat does illustrate is that these four titans stand tall as some of the greatest late-career scorers of all time.