LeBron James became just the ninth player in NBA history to hand out 9,000 assists in the Lakers’ 108-95 win Sunday night against the visiting Dallas Mavericks.
James, who is also celebrating his 35th birthday today, says passing has long been his favorite part of the game.
Bron’s playmaking has helped push Los Angeles atop the Western Conference standings at 26-7.
Per The LA Times :
“The milestone of it is when you grow up in the inner city, around a lot of things you don’t want your kids to see, to be able to get to this point in age where the statistics are stacked up against you because of obvious reasons, that’s a blessing,” James, a native of Akron, Ohio, said Sunday in a reflective moment. “And it’s more of a blessing for me to be able to do what I love every day and be able to let my family reap the benefits of that and they allow me to be an inspiration to them.”
The fourth of his 13 assists in the Lakers’ 108-95 victory over Dallas on Sunday was the 9,000th assist of his career, making him the only player in NBA history to dish out 9,000 assists and pull down 9,000 rebounds.
James has no intention of settling. “My teammates and the coaching staff trust me to play the point and run the show. It’s my job to take care of the ball and just try to put guys in position to be successful, put the ball on time and on target for threes, for lobs, for dunks, for transition. Whatever the case may be,” he said. “Use my ability, my vision that I’ve had all my life, I just try to see the floor. And I’ve been able to do that the last few games.”
He got this far, to 9,000 assists, thanks to the encouragement of a youth coach named Frank Walker.
“It’s something that was instilled in me when I first picked up a basketball,” James said. “[Walker] always talked about it’s the greatest part of basketball, to be able to see the ball move from side to side, to be able to attract the defense and get your teammates open shots. I was a little kid and I was somewhat better than some of my teammates. He was like, ‘It’s much greater reward in seeing some of your teammates that can’t dribble or can’t score for themselves, for you to get them open looks.’ And that was instilled in me when I was 9 years old and I first started playing. We won the championship the first year, we won it the second year, I started winning and winning and winning. I just knew it was the way I want to play, so it’s been a part of my game.”