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CLEVELAND – When LeBron James assisted on a Kevin Love 3-pointer from the corner Monday, James joined Oscar Robertson as the only players in NBA history in the top 25 in both all-time points and assists.
LeBron, and the Big O. They deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence.
Robertson, who spent the majority of his playing career as a guard with the Cincinnati Royals (now Sacramento Kings), once led the league in scoring and assists in the same season. That was 1967-68, when he averaged 29.2 and 9.7, respectively.
James was clearly honored to join the Hall of Famer on this particular top-25 list. But James, whose Cavaliers defeated the visiting Magic 117-103, indicated such records should be kept in perspective.
“I think what we get caught up in, in our league too much, is trying to compare greats to greats, instead of just accepting and acknowledging and saying, ‘Wow, these are just great players,'” James said. “I think in the NFL, when you talk about great quarterbacks, they don’t really compare great quarterbacks. They say, ‘Oh, Joe Montana is great.’ You know, ‘Tom Brady is great. Aaron Rodgers is great. Steve Young is great.’ (Terry) Bradshaw, all those great quarterbacks, they never compare them as much.
“But when it comes to our sport, we’re so eager to say, ‘Who is better: Oscar or (Michael) Jordan?’ or ‘Jordan or LeBron or Kobe (Bryant) or these guys?’ instead of just accepting greatness. And if you understand the history of the sport, then there is no way you could ever forget Oscar Robertson. This guy, he averaged a triple-double for like, forever.”
James finished with 15 points and 13 assists — and now has 6,395 assists. The one to Love, his fifth of the night, moved him ahead of former Lakers and Clippers guard Norm Nixon for 25th all time.
James needs just six points to move past former Pacers great Reggie Miller for 18th place on the NBA all-time scoring list.
“I’ve been very blessed to be with a lot of great teammates and two great organizations that allowed me to do some unbelievable things,” James said. “And obviously with the assists, without my teammates over the years and them making shots, I don’t get the assists.”
He added: “It is very humbling to see my name linked with the Big O, someone that I’ve always kind of admired.”