On Tuesday night, LeBron James tallied 25 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists against the Oklahoma City Thunder, which made him the first player in NBA history to record a triple-double against every team.
It was another historic night in what has been a historic 16-year career for James and as a historian of the game himself, James usually knows what’s at stake going into every game, but not on Tuesday. On Tuesday, James didn’t know what he had accomplished until head Lakers head coach Frank Vogel congratulated him.
“I had no idea,” James said on Tuesday. “Coach Vogel came in here and said congratulations, and I thought he was joking about my 7 turnovers. Because I had been taking care of the ball so much. And then he said I was the first player in NBA history to have a triple-double against every team.”
James said wasn’t sure how to feel about his latest feat, calling it a “cool stat,” but he took some time to credit his coaches and teammates for making it possible anyway. After all, you can’t get an assist without another player making a basket.
“I’ve had some great teammates and great coaches who put me in a position to be able to facilitate. My teammates have made shots for me throughout my career. Coaches have put me in positions to be successful scoring the ball, and I just try to read and react the ball off the rim as far as getting rebounds.
“Hopefully throughout all those triple-doubles I’ve had a winning record throughout all those games, because that’s what’s most important.”
James got the win on Tuesday, leading the Lakers to a 112-107 win over the Thunder with Anthony Davis, who scored a game-high 34 points. After the game, Davis praised James for his accomplishment, even if James didn’t think much of it.
“To be able to do that on separate teams is something special,” Davis said. “He’s been playing for a long time, so it was a matter of time before it happened, but it’s a tribute to all the hard work he’s put in. He put in a lot of work on the floor, off the floor, with his game, taking care of his body. To be able to do that against every team in the league ... not only just says how good of a player he is, but also how he gets his teammates involved. It’s a huge honor to be a part of something like that.”
JaVale McGee was shocked to learn that the list of teams included the Seattle SuperSonics, who relocated to Oklahoma City in 2008: “The story is, he almost got the San Diego Braves too.”
That alone is a testament to just how long James has been dominant, and Vogel thinks James will continue to play what he believes is the best basketball James has ever played this season with the Lakers.
”Who knows?” Vogel said of James’ career longevity. “Hopefully for a long, long time for Lakers fans. He’s just playing terrific basketball. There is no other way to put it. For him to be doing what he’s doing in his 17th year is nothing short of remarkable, and there is no reason to believe he can’t sustain that the rest of the season and help us make a real strong playoff push.”