NBA

LeBron James reflects on 'humbling' accomplishment as he passes Magic Johnson in assists

By Sports Desk December 03, 2022

LeBron James moved up to sixth on the all-time assist leaderboard as he dished 11 in the Los Angeles Lakers' impressive 133-129 win against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday.

James also had 28 points on 12-of-27 shooting, eight rebounds and two steals to go with his assists, and he was supported in spectacular fashion by Anthony Davis.

Davis had a season-high 44 points (18-of-27 shooting), 10 rebounds and three blocks, in what was his third-most points in a Lakers uniform, and the most since January 2020.

With James' ninth assist of the game – the 10,142nd of his career – he passed fellow Lakers legend Magic Johnson on the all-time list, now trailing only Mark Jackson (10,334), Steve Nash (10,335), Chris Paul (11,071), Jason Kidd (12,091) and John Stockton (15,806).

Speaking after the contest, James made sure to convey his respect for Johnson and his impact on the game.

"It means a lot, obviously," he said. "The way Magic approached the game, it was very infectious. 

"His teammates loved playing with him because of the joy he played with, and the ability to pass the ball and get other guys involved. He was always excited about seeing his teammates be great. I always admired that in him.

"What’s even more humbling and super-duper cool is the fact that I’m doing it in a Laker uniform, and knowing how much Magic means to the Laker franchise."

Earlier in the week in an interview with ESPN, James reflected on the legacy he hopes to leave behind.

"To know that I'm in the conversation, or about to get to a point that I'm breaking a record that he set for this franchise – and I'm not comparing myself to Magic with this franchise, what he did, sheesh," he said.

"Him, [James] Worthy, Kobe [Bryant], Shaq [O'Neal], those guys are synonymous with this franchise. But it's just pretty cool, always, when I'm able to see my name with some of the greats that have played this game.

"Listen, when you talk about just one-name guys when you're talking about sports, you got Ali, Jordan, Magic, Bird. Those names are just synonymous with sports."

Turning his attention back to the win against the Bucks, James said he felt this was the most connected this Lakers team has felt since the addition of Russell Westbrook.

"I will say I feel like tonight is the most complementary, and the best game with all three of us on the floor together that we've played on both sides of the floor," he said.

"We all felt in a rhythm. We all felt we were making impactful plays throughout the whole game."

The victory was the Lakers' seventh from their past nine fixtures, reviving what was looking like being a lost season and inching closer to .500, now 9-12 – only two games behind the current Western Conference eighth seed, the Golden State Warriors.

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