The debate may never end on who is better – LeBron James or Michael Jordan?
On Friday night, James surpassed one of Jordan’s most impressive records for consistency.
With his 27 points against the New Orleans Pelicans, James has now scored at least 10 points in 867 consecutive games surpassing Jordan’s NBA record.
James recorded 294 of those double-digit scoring games during his four years with the Miami Heat from 2010-2014, which marks the Heat’s franchise record for such a streak.
"It's a new record every day with that guy," said Dwyane Wade, James’ former teammate in both Miami and Cleveland. "To be one of the game's greats you have to match or surpass one of the game’s greats. When you're up there where he's at, depending on who is in the conversation, when it's somebody who doesn't like him he's in the top five and when it's somebody who loves him he arguably 1, 2 or 3 depending on who's having the conversation. You now get to that point, now 15 years where you kind of expect there's going to be a lot of records he's going to be part of and break. But the consistency of him being healthy, of him bringing it on a nightly basis, even when he has off nights, even when he's not feeling as great, you really can't tell from the naked eye."
Wade, who won a pair of NBA titles with James during that time, saluted his good friend’s ability to remain productive at a high level even after 15 seasons in the NBA.
James, 33, has started all 76 games this season for the Cavaliers and is averaging a career-high 9.1 assists per game in addition to 27.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.
"He’s special from that sense," Wade said. "Who knows when he's going to slow down? He may never slow down. He may retire and he can still go for 20 a night. You just never know with him. But he's definitely blessed though, man. Not even to have a hamstring strain. He twists his ankles, he can roll his ankle nine straight games in a row and just tie his shoe up tighter and just go. I always tell him, ‘God blessed him with everything but a hairline.’"
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said James could be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame just for his durability let alone for all his other numerous attributes and accomplishments.
"His durability and consistency is Hall of Fame itself, forget about his talent and his approach and his impact on winning," Spoelstra said. "The durability is something that is hard earned. He puts in a lot of time. Certainly he’s physically gifted from above but he is not taking that for granted. He really works at it. It’s a great lesson to a lot of young players. He learned it early at a young age, far before he got to us that the most important instrument to be able to express yourself competitively in this great association is your body. And you have to take the necessary steps to take care of your body not only to make sure you’re maintaining health but to get better and reinvent and to be able to become faster, quicker, jump higher and be healthier. A lot of players could do that but most players won’t make the necessary sacrifices or time commitment to develop that."
The Heat went 1-2 against the Cavaliers during the regular season and still could face Cleveland again in the first round of the playoffs depending on what seeds each team ultimately claims. The Heat entered Saturday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets half a game behind the Wizards for the sixth seed, which would match up against the No. 3 seed currently occupied by the Cavaliers.
"He’s doing everything right," Goran Dragic said. "He’s always focused, taking the game seriously and doing those preventions of injuries. He’s in great shape so it definitely has something to do with that. Awkward things can happen in this game, but so far he’s like ‘Iron Man.’ He never gets hurt. He only gets better."