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Only six players in the history of the NBA have scored 30,000 or more points and though he is one the precipice of joining that elite group, LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers would prefer to wait.
At least one more game, anyway.
The 33-year-old James is just 41 points shy of joining the 30,000-point club and with the Cavaliers (26-17) hosting the Orlando Magic (13-31) tonight at Quicken Loans Arena, he could enter tonight.
Not so fast, though, he says.
“Hopefully, I don’t do it tonight because my kids got school tomorrow,” James said at shootaround Thursday morning. “Hopefully, I’ll wait (until) Saturday. They can come to the weekend games.
“So, that would be pretty cool.”
James’ two sons, 13-year-old LeBron Jr. and 10-year-old Bryce are spotted frequently in the Cavaliers’ postgame locker rooms after weekend home contests.
After tonight’s game, the Cavaliers host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday afternoon.
The six members of the NBA’s prestigious 30,000-point club are:
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 38,387
- Karl Malone, 36,928
- Kobe Bryant, 33,643
- Michael Jordan, 32,292
- Wilt Chamberlain, 31,419
- Dirk Nowitzki, 30,808
Nowitzki is still playing for the Dallas Mavericks.
Always an NBA historian, James realizes just how special joining the six players would be.
“I definitely looked at the list and saw the list and seen of all the guys that have played in this league and the number of guys that have played in this league, it’s definitely a select few,” James said. “It’s a select company. So in that right, it’s special in that right.”
That having been said, James said scoring points has never been a focus for him as an individual.
“But I can honestly sit here and say that I’ve never set out to set scoring records or be a part of a scoring club,” he said.
James reached his 33rd birthday on Dev. 30. Kobe Bryant scored his 30,000th career point at 34 years, 104 days old. Meaning James will be the youngest player in NBA history to reach the milestone.
James was asked at shootaround what three of his former coaches — Keith Dambrot and Dru Joyce at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School and youth coach Frankie Walker Sr. — would think of him hitting the 30,000-point mark in the NBA.
“Coach Dambrot will say he knew it. He was one of the first ones to tell me I was going to be an NBA player. He told the media I was going to be an NBA player when I was a freshman in high school. I didn’t believe him. He said I was the best basketball player he had ever seen at 14 and I didn’t believe him.
“Coach Dru and Frankie would probably say the same. I just hope that I’m making them proud still. They taught me the game. Frank Walker introduced the game of basketball to me, taught me how to make a left-handed layup for the first time. Now that’s pretty much all I do in the paint — a lot if I’m not dunking or shooting, it’s left-handed layup so he taught me that.
“Coach Dru taught me what it means to have brotherhood and play for somebody and play with a meaning. Coach D stressed the competitive. Like, if you don’t die for the game then why are you playing it?
“All those three coaches basically just set me up the best way they could. Just tried to take advantage of it.
“Hope I’m making them proud, still today.”