With LeBron James in his 21st year of NBA action, it feels as though every time he steps foot on the court, history is happening. It could be something massive like breaking the all-time scoring record last year or a fun fact like becoming eighth in most games played in NBA history, which he accomplished on Monday by beating the Orlando Magic.
Just this past week marked the 20th anniversary of James’ first ever NBA game, which was on October 29, 2003 and, 20 years to the date, he once again faced the Kings on the road, but this time he was donning the purple and gold.
“It’s pretty cool. When you look, it’s to the date – actual to the date – of Oct. 29 and it being 20 years since I started my career,” James said after the game. “Being here in Sacramento, obviously it was Oracle Arena at the time, but a lot of memories, lot of memories. It’s pretty special. Pretty special that I’m still doing it and playing the game I love. It’s been a long journey.”
The team he played for and the arena the game was played in may have changed, but one thing remained the same, James was as dominant as ever. In his debut, he had 25 points on 12-20 shooting and led the Cavs in minutes played with 42 as an 18-year-old rookie. Fast forward two decades and he scored 27 on 11-19 shooting and clocked in 39 minutes.
The Lakers lost in overtime, but during the closing seconds of the game, a cool moment occurred where James had a breakaway dunk that looked eerily similar to his first dunk against the Kings.
“Any moments that you get where you just think back to – for me, I was an 18-year-old kid playing the game that I love, the dream coming true for me being on an NBA floor and playing in a regular season game…It’s a pretty cool correlation for sure,” James said postgame.
It’s an exercise in futility to predict when James will hang it up. He’s in uncharted territory playing at a level no 21-year player has ever done. Father Time will have his day and there are fewer years and games in front of us than behind, so enjoy James while you still can.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.