He left Cleveland for Miami, finally became a champion, went back to his beloved northeast Ohio, delivered on another title promise, then left for the Los Angeles Lakers and the next challenge. He played in eight straight finals. No NBA player won more games or more MVP awards over the last 10 years than he did. He started a school. He married his high school sweetheart.

"That's all?" LeBron James asked, feigning disbelief.

No, that's not all. Those were just some highlights of the last 10 years. There were many more, as the man called "King" spent the last decade reigning over all others — with no signs of slowing down.

 James is The Associated Press male athlete of the decade, adding his name to a list that includes Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky and Arnold Palmer. He was a runaway winner in a vote of AP member sports editors and AP beat writers, easily outpacing runner-up Tom Brady of the New England Patriots.

"You add another 10 years of learning and adversity, pitfalls, good, great, bad, and any smart person who wants to grow will learn from all those experiences," James, who turns 35 Monday, told the AP. "A decade ago, I just turned 25. I'm about to be 35 and I'm just in a better (place) in my life and have a better understanding of what I want to get out of life."

Usain Bolt of Jamaica was third for dominating the sprints at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, soccer superstar Lionel Messi was fourth and Michael Phelps — the U.S. swimmer who retired as history's most decorated Olympian with 28 medals, 23 gold — was fifth.

LeBron James is confident he will be fit for the Los Angeles Lakers showdown against the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday as he continues to manage a groin problem.

James was listed as questionable ahead of Saturday's game at the Portland Trail Blazers, having aggravated the injury during a Christmas Day loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

But the four-time MVP played through the pain to score 21 points and make 16 assists as the Lakers snapped a four-game losing streak with a 128-120 victory.

Despite also landing heavily on his elbow after a fall, James is ready to patch himself up and go again against the Mavs.

"I'm fine, I’ll be alright. Yes [it was the same part of the elbow I hit in Miami], pretty much," he told reporters before being asked if he would face Dallas.

"Yes, I'm planning on it," he replied. "As long as this ice takes care of its business and I wake up comfortably and healthily, yeah.

"I'm doing alright for myself."

Lakers coach Frank Vogel maintained James would need to be assessed closely.

"When you have a back-to-back, you just treat it like this is the only game you're playing and then figure out tomorrow tomorrow," he said, as quoted by ESPN.

Kyle Kuzma led the Lakers with 24 points, while Anthony Davis contributed 20 and Rajon Rondo provided 15 points and four assists from the bench.

"Rondo came in with so much, his pace was incredible. Kuz is keeping up his streak of scoring the ball with the punch we’ve been wanting all year," James added, with Kuzma having defused potential pre-match tension caused by his personal trainer making critical comments of LeBron on social media.

"He's getting back to his groove. And AC [Alex Caruso], and Dwight [Howard] was a monster in the paint. Everybody else just chipped in. It was a good all-around game."

LeBron James insists he could "not care less" about being criticised by the personal trainer of Los Angeles Lakers team-mate Kyle Kuzma.

Clint Parks took to Instagram on Friday to claim James is not working as hard as fellow NBA superstar Kawhi Leonard, who was part of a Los Angeles Clippers team that defeated the Lakers on Christmas Day.

Around the same time, Kuzma tweeted "call a spade a spade", leading to some suggesting there was could be a rift with James.

Kuzma later denied such a suggestion and sought to distance himself from Parks' comments.

"Obviously I don't feel that way," he said. "Everybody knows me and Bron have a great relationship. And I left it at that."

Asked if he would continue to work with Parks, Kuzma said: "I don't know. That's a private conversation. So, that's not really a conversation to have with you guys."

For his part, James said he had been sought out by Kuzma but was nonplussed as to being called out by Parks.

"Kuz came to me yesterday at practice and told me what's going on, and that was it," James said. 

"I really don't care for someone's trainer or whatever the case may be. Everyone can have their own opinion. 

"Any time someone wants to get some notoriety, they can throw my name in it and people are going to pick it up. 

"That's why you asked me about it. My name was in it. I've never met the guy. I don't know the guy. I couldn't care less about the guy. Whatever the case may be, I wish him the best."

The Lakers are on a four-match losing streak in the NBA but still top the West with a 24-7 record and face the Portland Trail Blazers later on Saturday.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James suggested he re-injured his groin in the Christmas Day defeat to rivals the Los Angeles Clippers.

James returned from a thoracic muscle strain as the struggling Lakers went down 111-106 against the Clippers at Staples Center on Wednesday.

The three-time NBA champion, who missed the loss to the Denver Nuggets, was nine of 24 from the floor and two of 12 from three-point range for 23 points and 10 assists.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, James – whose first season with the Lakers was ravaged by a groin injury – said he was kneed in the groin by Clippers opponent Patrick Beverley.

"I felt healthy going into the game. The second or third defensive possession I got kneed in the groin taking a charge from Pat Bev," James said.

"That kind of set me right back to where I was five days ago."

It was another disappointing outing for Western Conference leaders the Lakers (24-7), who crashed to a fourth consecutive defeat.

The Lakers lost to the Clippers (23-10) for the second time this season, having dropped Opening Night against Kawhi Leonard's team.

"They got stops, they made shots," James said. "When we got stops, we weren't able to counter on the other end and make shots. We'll watch the film at our next practice and see ways we can get better.

"It's a long season, it's a marathon, so, you know, it was a great atmosphere. We had a chance to win. But they made the plays."

The Los Angeles Clippers claimed Christmas Day honours as neighbours the Los Angeles Lakers crashed to their fourth consecutive defeat in the NBA.

Kawhi Leonard starred with 35 points to lead the Clippers past the slumping Lakers 111-106 in the battle of LA on Wednesday.

Leonard scored 11 points in the fourth quarter and added 12 rebounds as the Clippers beat the Lakers for the second time this season, having also won on opening night.

The Lakers (24-7) led 63-51 at half-time but were outscored 60-43 by the Clippers (23-10) in the second half in Los Angeles.

Montrezl Harrell posted 18 points off the bench and Clippers team-mate Paul George contributed 17 at Staples Center midweek.

LeBron James, who returned from a muscle strain, put up 23 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds for the beaten Lakers, while Kyle Kuzma led the way with his 25 points.

 

Embiid takes down Bucks

Joel Embiid was at his brilliant best with 31 points and 11 rebounds as the Philadelphia 76ers upstaged league leaders the Milwaukee Bucks 121-109. It was Embiid's seventh game of the season with 30 points and 10 rebounds. Ben Simmons added 15 points and 14 rebounds.

Jaylen Brown was 10 for 13 from the field and five-of-seven from three-point range for 30 points to inspire the Boston Celtics' 118-102 victory against defending champions the Toronto Raptors. Chris Boucher had 24 points off the bench for the Raptors.

Damion Lee's 22 points and a career-high 15 rebounds helped the Golden State Warriors past the Houston Rockets 116-104. It was Golden State's third straight win. Double-doubles from Russell Westbrook (30 points, 12 rebounds), James Harden (24 points, 11 assists) and Clint Capela (10 points, 11 rebounds) were not enough for the Rockets.

 

Giannis struggles from the floor

While Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds, it was a tough night for the reigning MVP. He was eight of 27 from the floor and 0 of seven from three-point range.

 

Beverley says no to LeBron!

Patrick Beverley produced a big defensive play as the Lakers tried to rally against the Clippers. James led the charge, but he was denied by the energetic Beverley.

 

Wednesday's results

Boston Celtics 118-102 Toronto Raptors
Philadelphia 76ers 121-109 Milwaukee Bucks
Golden State Warriors 116-104 Houston Rockets
Los Angeles Clippers 111-106 Los Angeles Lakers
New Orleans Pelicans 112-100 Denver Nuggets

 

Spurs at Mavs

After their high-scoring battle against the Memphis Grizzlies, the San Antonio Spurs take on the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday. The Mavericks could welcome back star guard Luka Doncic.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James will return from injury for the Christmas Day showdown against the Los Angeles Clippers.

James missed Sunday's 128-104 NBA defeat to the Denver Nuggets due to a thoracic muscle strain suffered in a loss against the Indiana Pacers last week.

But the slumping Lakers confirmed James' return for Wednesday's blockbuster with Western Conference neighbours and rivals the Clippers at Staples Center.

The Lakers (24-6) will hope James can help snap a three-game losing streak by beating Kawhi Leonard's Clippers (22-10).

James – whose first season with the Lakers was ravaged by injury in 2018-19 – is averaging 25.8 points, 10.6 assists and 7.5 rebounds per game this campaign.

LeBron James will be assessed day to day ahead of the Lakers' Los Angeles showdown with the Clippers on Christmas Day, head coach Frank Vogel said.

Superstar James was absent as the Lakers went down 128-104 on home court to the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, their third straight defeat.

James was officially missing with an injury to his rib cage, while reports from ESPN suggest the 15-time All Star is also contending with a persistent groin issue.

Vogel acknowledged the importance of James and remains hopeful of having him available for a Los Angeles Christmas cracker on Wednesday.

"Hopefully he'll be available for us on Christmas Day," Vogel said in quotes reported by the LA Times.

"But we'll see how the injury heals up and whenever he gets back, we'll benefit from that for sure

"LeBron is obviously a game-changer. Our offensive flow, defensive communication, quarterbacking, playmaking offensively, being able to get guys shots. [He has an impact on] probably all that stuff."

Anthony Davis did his part to try and carry the Lakers without James, finishing with 32 points, 11 rebounds and an assist, while the returning Kyle Kuzma put up 16 points from 22 minutes.

Davis himself had an injury scare when he hurt his knee in the third quarter, but he managed to return to the game.

"I felt fine enough to go back out and play. I'll see how it feels tomorrow [before deciding if I can play against the Clippers]," Davis said.

"We've got two days before our next game, so that should be plenty of enough time to get it back right. 

"But obviously the game just ended so we got to see how it feels overnight and then hopefully nothing significant happens. [I can] get some treatment on it and continue to move forward [on] Wednesday."

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James will miss the showdown against the Denver Nuggets, the NBA franchise confirmed.

James was in doubt for Sunday's NBA clash due to a thoracic muscle strain, suffered during a 105-102 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.

The Lakers (24-5) announced James' absence just hours before tip-off at Staples Center in Los Angeles, though Kyle Kuzma and Anthony Davis will face the Nuggets (19-8).

James – whose first season with the Lakers was ravaged by injury – is averaging 25.8 points, 10.6 assists and 7.5 rebounds per game in 2019-20.

The Lakers top the Western Conference, while the Nuggets are third after winning five straight games.

The Los Angeles Lakers could be without LeBron James against the Denver Nuggets on Sunday due to a thoracic muscle strain.

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel revealed the four-time NBA MVP did the damage during a 105-102 defeat to the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.

James will be monitored, but the 34-year-old is a doubt for the showdown with the Nuggets at Staples Center, where the Lakers will attempt to stop the rot after back-to-back defeats.

"It was sustained in the Indiana game," Vogel said. "He played through it in the Milwaukee [Bucks] game, but the medical team is just keeping a close eye on him and list him as doubtful [to play on Sunday].

"If he doesn't go, it's going to be a group effort. We'll release starting line-ups tomorrow [Sunday], but it's one of those things that no one person can pick up what LeBron does for our team, so it will just have to be a group effort."

There is more positive news on forward Kyle Kuzma, who has been struggling with an ankle injury but is probable to face Denver.

The Lakers are 24-5 at the top of the Western Conference, while the Nuggets (19-8) occupy third place are have won their last five games.

Anthony Davis and LeBron James tipped their hats to Giannis Antetokounmpo after the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.

The two teams went into the game at Fiserv Forum with NBA-leading 24-4 records and it was the Bucks who emerged triumphant, claiming a 111-104 victory.

Reigning MVP Antetokounmpo had 34 points and 11 rebounds and made a career-best five three-pointers in a commanding display.

Davis, who sat out the defeat to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday with an ankle sprain, played the entire second half and finished with a game-high 36 points.

Asked for his thoughts on Antetokounmpo's display, James simply gestured by tipping an imaginary hat, while Davis suggested there was little more the Lakers could have done to stop him.

"We tip our hats to him, man. I think we executed our game plan as far as him driving," said Davis.

"He did a good job of knocking down threes, he did a good job of finding guys and they made shots for him.

"You've got to tip your hat to him, he made five of them and they were all tough looks. Two were highly contested at the end of the shot clock, one was wide open, and I think the other two were dribble-up threes from the wing."

On his ankle injury, Davis added: "I just tried to play through it, I still felt it a little bit. I tried to keep going, battle through it a little bit and help my team win."

The Lakers trailed by 18 points at half-time and were unable to avoid succumbing to successive defeats for the first time this season at the end of a five-game road trip, despite James claiming a triple-double of 21 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists.

"We continue to build chemistry, we continue to build camaraderie," James said.

"Pretty much every time anyone does anything, we pretty much do it together on the road. Just kind of have that bunker mentality, that brotherhood when we hit the road."

Russell Westbrook led the way as the Houston Rockets downed Kawhi Leonardo's Los Angeles Clippers 122-117 in the NBA on Thursday.

Westbrook posted 40 points and 10 rebounds to inspire the Rockets' win in Los Angeles, where Houston rallied.

The Rockets (19-9) trailed by 15 points at half-time but used a 36-point third quarter to emerge triumphant at Staples Center.

James Harden contributed 28 points and 10 assists – the Rockets star breaking Calvin Murphy's franchise assist record in the process.

Paul George's 34 points and Leonard's 25 and nine rebounds were not enough for the Clippers (21-9) on home court.

Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 111-104 in their highly anticipated showdown.

Giannis Antetokounmpo's 34 points and 11 rebounds led the Bucks to the NBA's best record at 25-4 in Milwaukee.

LeBron James recorded a triple-double of 21 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists, while Anthony Davis had 36 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers (24-4).

 

Dinwiddie has career night

Spencer Dinwiddie posted a career-high 41 points but not even that could stop the Brooklyn Nets from losing 118-105 to the San Antonio Spurs. LaMarcus Aldridge put up 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs.

Donovan Mitchell's 30 points led the Utah Jazz past the Atlanta Hawks 111-106. Trae Young scored 30 of his own for the Hawks.

 

Lakers get nothing from bench

Starters James, Davis, Danny Green and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope really carried the Lakers in Milwaukee. They were the only players to reach double-digit points – the team's bench only contributing four points via Dwight Howard (2) and Rajon Rondo (2).

 

Giannis from distance!

Antetokounmpo had a career-high five-pointers, including this gem from the beyond the arc against the Lakers.

 

Thursday's results

Utah Jazz 111-106 Atlanta Hawks
Milwaukee Bucks 111-104 Los Angeles Lakers
San Antonio Spurs 118-105 Brooklyn Nets
Los Angeles Clippers 122-117 Houston Rockets

 

Mavs at 76ers

After losing for the first time at home this season, the Philadelphia 76ers have the chance to bounce back against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday.

Giannis Antetokounmpo said he is not supposed to be up against LeBron James and Anthony Davis as the Milwaukee Bucks star remained grounded following Thursday's win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Bucks claimed the best record in the NBA after reigning MVP Antetokounmpo inspired a 111-104 victory in the blockbuster showdown.

All eyes were on Milwaukee for the highly anticipated clash as Eastern Conference leaders the Bucks and the Western Conference-leading Lakers shared 24-4 records.

Antetokounmpo upstaged James and Davis with his 34 points and 11 rebound, the Bucks moving top of the overall NBA standings.

"I think the most important thing is to try to stay humble. When you win MVP and you win 60 games, it's hard," Antetokounmpo said afterwards.

"You feel like, 'OK, what else?' But at the end of the day, I realise and my family realises that I'm not supposed to be here.

"I wasn't the number one pick. [Anthony Davis] was. LeBron [James] was. I wasn't supposed to be here.

"I'm not supposed to go against these two beasts, so I'm just happy that I'm here and happy that I'm going through the process, and I always want to be better, do better for my team, and that's what gives me joy."

Antetokounmpo also had a career-high five three-pointers against the Lakers, on eight attempts from beyond the arc.

"I'm going to keep shooting. It doesn't matter for me if I made one, two or five, I just want to be better," Antetokounmpo said. "And I want to keep getting better and keep working on my game, and it's going to be some nights that I'm going to make zero and it'll be nights I'll make five, but I've got to keep shooting because that's what my team wants me to do."

Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer added: "I think a lot of players keep working, keep getting better, and it's part of our league, part of being a professional.

"But what Giannis does in the summer, the amount of time he puts in before practices, after practices, taking care of his body -- but I think everybody, as special as he was last year, I think even opponents and his peers, I think, see and know that he can get better. He's doing it. He's putting the time and effort in, and we just feel fortunate he's ours and excited about him and our future."

Giannis Antetokounmpo's double-double led the Milwaukee Bucks past the Los Angeles Lakers 111-104 and to the NBA's best record.

All eyes were on Milwaukee for Thursday's highly anticipated showdown as Eastern Conference leaders the Bucks and the Western Conference-leading Lakers shared 24-4 records.

The blockbuster encounter also pitted reigning MVP Antetokounmpo against Lakers superstar LeBron James.

And the Bucks secured the league's best record thanks to Antetokounmpo, and his 34 points and 11 rebounds.

Antetokounmpo also had a career-high five three-pointers for the Bucks, who used a 42-29 second quarter to move clear of the Lakers.

James finished with a triple-double of 21 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists but it was not enough for the visiting Lakers.

Lakers team-mate Anthony Davis put up 36 points and 10 rebounds after returning from a one-game absence due to an ankle injury.

 

The Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks meet in a blockbuster clash between the NBA's two conference leaders on Thursday.

Holding the best records in the NBA at 24-4, the Western Conference-leading Lakers visit the Eastern Conference leaders at Fiserv Forum.

The Bucks and Lakers will meet just twice during the regular season and both encounters are shaping as must-watch matches.

With the help of Stats Perform data, we take a closer look at the two teams' starts to the season.

Matchup among the best

With a 48-8 combined win-loss record, this clash marks the seventh highest combined win percentage (.857) entering a game since 1970-71, with a minimum of 25 games played by both teams.

Milwaukee set up their record on the back of an 18-game winning streak that was only broken by the Dallas Mavericks on Monday.

The Lakers, meanwhile, are also going into the game on the back of a defeat after losing to the Indiana Pacers.

They have embarked on two seven-game runs and a 10-match winning streak this season.

The Lakers and Bucks' 24-4 records are the equal 13th best through the first 28 games of an NBA season.

Bucks impressively cruising

Led by reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is averaging 31.7 points, 12.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game this season, Milwaukee have dominated.

Their points/G differential of 12.9 is the highest in the NBA since 1970-71, currently standing greater than the 1971-72 Lakers (12.3) and 70-71 Bucks (12.3).

Both those Lakers and Bucks went on to win the NBA championship.

Milwaukee have claimed huge victories over the likes of the New York Knicks (132-88), Charlotte Hornets (137-96), Orlando Magic (123-91), Minnesota Timberwolves (134-106), Los Angeles Clippers (119-91) and Detroit Pistons (127-103) this season.

 

Lakers duo starring

As was expected, LeBron James and Anthony Davis have led the Lakers.

James is averaging 25.9 points, 10.6 assists and 7.4 rebounds per game this season, while Davis (27.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists) is also delivering impressive numbers.

The pair are tracking to be among the best team-mate duos – to have played in 70 per cent of their team's games – since 1976-77, when it comes to most points plus assists plus rebounds.

James (43.9) and Davis (40.0) are fifth on the list at 83.9, with Houston Rockets pair James Harden (52.3) and Russell Westbrook (38.1) topping it at 90.4 after their performances this season.

Giannis Antetokounmpo described LeBron James as "an alien", with the Los Angeles Lakers superstar continuing to dominate despite his advancing years.

James – who celebrates his 35th birthday on December 30 – is averaging 25.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 10.6 assists per game for the Lakers this season.

The three-time NBA champion and four-time MVP is showing no signs of slowing down in his 17th year in the league, following a difficult first season with the Lakers.

Reigning MVP and Milwaukee Bucks star Antetokounmpo hailed James ahead of Thursday's blockbuster showdown – pitting the league's two best teams against each other.

"It's crazy. Obviously, for me, that's one of my goals to be able to play at a high level for the next 10 years, but he's about to turn 35 this month and he's moving like that, playing like that, and just playing smart," Antetokounmpo told reporters on Wednesday.

"It's insane to see what he's able to do, but he's LeBron James, he's different. He's an alien. So you expect it from him, but yeah, it's crazy."

With matching 24-4 records, the Bucks and Lakers top the Eastern and Western Conferences respectively this season.

The Bucks had their 18-game winning streak snapped by the Dallas Mavericks, while the Lakers fell to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday.

Ahead of the clash at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said: "What LeBron James has done in our league is phenomenal.

"He's just a very, very special player, so any time you get to play against him – and now Anthony Davis is very similar and they've got great fits, great players around them. So I think the thing we often talk about when you play a really good team is how you get tested and how you learn more about yourself.

"I think that's kind of the way I look at it, and that usually means you're playing somebody good, and I'm excited about that opportunity."

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