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Even at 36 years old, LeBron James is still defining greatness

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On the night of his 36th birthday, LeBron James reminded everyone of what an incredible career he’s had, and why we can’t take it for granted.

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Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs Photos by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images

LeBron James has played a lot of regular season games over the course of his 18-year career — 1,270 to be exact, and in 1,262 of those games, he’s scored at least 10 points.

On Wednesday, the day of James’ 36th birthday, he recorded his 1,000th consecutive game with at least 10 points, which is the NBA record for the most consecutive games in double figures. Michael Jordan, whose streak lasted 866 games, is a distant second.

James’ level of consistency on offense has never been seen before, and his teammates aren’t sure how it’s possible.

“That’s a disgusting statistic,” said Lakers guard Wesley Matthews following the team’s 121-107 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday. “But it’s awesome for a guy that’s done so much for this league, so much for the game — on and off the court — to reach a milestone like that. Some people don’t even reach 1,000 games period.

“There’s nobody in the game that has been game planned against more than him and had more success against each game plan. That’s just a credit to him, a credit to his work and it’s awesome to be a part of.”

Dennis Schröder said he found out about James’ latest accomplishment on Instagram after the game, and he didn’t let it got unnoticed.

“I had to walk up to him and tell him that’s tough,” Schröder said. “At the end of the day, what he brings to the table every night, every day, is just amazing to see. I’ve played against him a bunch — regular season games, playoff games — but now playing with him and seeing what he does every night, every day... He’s a hell of a teammate, hell of a player and just a legend.”

This isn’t James’ first major career milestone, and it certainly won’t be the last historic streak or record-breaking statistic on his Hall of Fame resumé. But just because he’s the one that has put in the work all of these years doesn’t mean it’s been any less surreal for him — he can’t believe where he’s at either.

“I would be lying if I sat here and told you I can wrap my head around it,” James said. “It doesn’t make sense, but I just try to take full advantage of the opportunity that I’ve been given. I believe I was one of the chosen ones — not only in my community, but to make a difference. Both playing the sport that I play and making a difference off the floor.

“I don’t disrespect the gift or the hand that was given to me — both from the man above and from my support system growing up — on telling me to be great. That’s not just talking about the game of basketball; that’s just ‘be great in whatever that you do.’ And it’s not saying you’re going to be perfect, because nobody is perfect, but you can try to be as great as you can every single day.

“I’ve been doing this for half of my life, in this league. I’m 36 today, I got in at 18, and hopefully I’ve made my hometown proud, and my mother proud, my family, my wife, my kids, my boys back home, my friends and everyone that I’ve been associated or around. I hope I can continue to evolve and inspire them and empower them to be great as well. I’ve been very blessed, and I don’t ever try to take it for granted.”

And if people are smart, they won’t take James’ greatness for granted either.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas.