LeBron James proud after passing Nowitzki, Shaq & Kobe Bryant milestones
LeBron James was proud after achieving three significant milestones as his Los Angeles Lakers side suffered defeat to the San Antonio Spurs.
The Lakers lost 110-106 on the road on Saturday in a match which saw the 33-year-old pass Dirk Nowitzki for sixth position on the NBA's all-time scoring list when he notched his 21st point of the night in the third quarter.
James is now the game's active leader in points scored (31,202), while he also surpassed Lakers great Shaquille O'Neal for sixth on the all-time field goals list (11,339).
"Guys that I've played against, played with, watched before I even got to the league, admired and was in awe of," James said via ESPN when asked about O'Neal and Nowitzki after his accomplishment.
"Dirk's always been one of my favourite players, and I think Shaq is the most dominant player to ever play this game.
"So for me to be in the same conversation with those guys in anything that we're talking about as far as basketball, it's a tribute.
"As far as being humble and knowing where I come from, being from Akron, Ohio, a small town that most African-American kids don't make it out of. So anytime I'm able to do something like that, I give it all back to my hometown and the kids that are just like me."
James had a season-high 35 points along with 11 rebounds as the Lakers fell to 2-4 on the season. It was his 432nd career 30-point game, moving him past another franchise icon Kobe Bryant for fourth position in that all-time list.
He had the opportunity to knock down a long, contested three-pointer with five seconds remaining to force overtime but missed, though was happy with the Lakers' competitiveness in San Antonio.
"When you have those games where your offense isn't clicking like it is, you've got to be able to rely on your defense, and we did that," said James, who was 13-for-21 from the field.
"We were down one, they had the ball, and [Demar] DeRozan hit a tough, tough two over Josh [Hart]. We did our job, and that's all you can ask for."
Asked about James and Nowitzki, Lakers coach Luke Walton explained that stopping either player was a thankless task.
"I've had to try to guard both of them when I played, and there's nothing you can do," he said.
"You can play great defense, and they still make the shot. All you're trying to do when you're playing guys of that level is make it hard on them. Don't foul them. Make them take contested shots. Make them take a lot of shots to get their points. But there's nothing you can do to stop either one of those guys."