LeBron James is a machine. Give the man an 82-game regular season, and he will give you at least 2000 points.
The Miami Heat forward passed the 2000-point mark for the ninth time in his already legendary 11-year career, per ESPN Numbers:
James came into Wednesday needing only 11 points to top the 2000 mark. He achieved 2000 on the nose with a slam dunk in the second quarter of a game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Not only is this James' ninth 2000-point season of his career, it is the ninth-consecutive 82-game season in which the four-time league MVP has reached that plateau. He scored 1683 in the lockout-shortened 2011-12 campaign. His rookie year, 2003-04, was the only full season in which James failed to score 2000.
James was already in elite scoring company before this season. He came into 2013-14 tied with Kobe Bryant, Alex English and Dominique Wilkins with eight 2000-point seasons. English and Wilkins are already in the Hall of Fame, while Bryant is a lock to be enshrined as soon as he is eligible.
Surprisingly, it is not the all-time scoring leader, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, with the most 2000-point campaigns. Karl Malone is in first place with 12. Michael Jordan had 11, while Abdul-Jabbar is now tied with James at nine.
But James has always fancied himself as more than just a scorer. Before the start of the 2013-14 season, he sat down with ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard and described what he believes to be his own unique style of play—a style that requires a more selfless approach:
The so-called gurus of basketball want LeBron to be Bernard King. I'm not Bernard King. I'm not a flat-out scorer like that. That's not all that I do. I do a little bit of everything. I averaged 31 in Cleveland my third or fourth year, and that didn't get us anywhere. I led the league in scoring. People forget that. I led the league in scoring one year, and I think I was second or third behind Kobe and Allen Iverson another year. [James actually has finished second in points per game three times.] I think it's great that you can put up a lot of points, but that ain't my legacy -- being a scorer. When you say LeBron James, you ain't gonna say, "Ahh, man, he was a flat-out scorer." I did a little bit of everything. I can score, though.
The only question now is whether the 29-year-old James can make a run at Malone's 12-year mark. If he reaches it, perhaps even he will have to reconsider the notion that he is not a flat-out scorer.
All statistics courtesy of stats.nba.com unless otherwise noted.