LeBron James might not be in a celebratory mood as he tries to find answers for the 14-21 Los Angeles Lakers, but fans are showering the future Hall of Famer with praise on his 38th birthday for what he's accomplished in 20 NBA seasons.
Despite the Lakers' struggles, James is playing at a high level. He's shooting 49.8 percent, ranks ninth in scoring average (27.8 points per game) and is tied for 14th in assists (6.6) and tied for 30th in rebounds (8.1).
Fans took to social media to show appreciation for James' career and how he's evolved since being the "kid from Akron" on the cover of Sports Illustrated at 17 years old.
Timeless Sports @timelesssports_
They told LeBron James in HIGH SCHOOL, "if you're not a first ballot Hall of Famer, you're gonna be considered a bust."<br><br>He still exceeded expectations. 👑 <br><br>Happy birthday to the King. (2003)<br><br> <a href="https://t.co/RRtQ6pVlLI">pic.twitter.com/RRtQ6pVlLI</a>
.<a href="https://twitter.com/KingJames?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KingJames</a> through the years as he celebrates his 38th birthday today 👑 <br><br>(📽️ via <a href="https://twitter.com/ari_fararooy?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ari_fararooy</a>) <a href="https://t.co/AoeaYTnezA">pic.twitter.com/AoeaYTnezA</a>
NBA Muse @NBAMuse24
Happy Birthday, LeBron James.<br><br>— 4x NBA Champion<br>— 4x NBA Finals MVP<br>— 4x NBA MVP<br>— 18x All-NBA<br>— 13x All-NBA First Team<br>— 18x All-Star<br>— 3x All-Star MVP<br>— 6x All-Defense <br>— 1x Scoring Champ<br>— 1x AST Champ<br>— 2003 ROTY<br>— NBA 75th Anniversary Team<br><br>👑👑👑 <a href="https://t.co/mL0bUZwKon">pic.twitter.com/mL0bUZwKon</a>
Complex Sports @ComplexSports
38 years-old and still going strong! 🔥 🔥 🔥 <br><br>Happy birthday <a href="https://twitter.com/KingJames?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KingJames</a>, one of the greatest to ever touch a basketball court 👑 <br><br>What's your favorite moment of LeBron's career? <a href="https://t.co/oqv6J2dhBH">pic.twitter.com/oqv6J2dhBH</a>
This is the first season when James has started to acknowledge his age and that his time in the NBA will end sooner than later. Nike debuted a commercial in October in which the four-time NBA Finals MVP took on "Father Time."
James is one of 10 players in NBA history who has played at least 20 seasons. No one in that group played more than 22 seasons. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant and Jamal Crawford all retired after their 20th season.
"I don't have a number," James told reporters after Wednesday's loss to the Miami Heat when asked how many more seasons he will play. "I know as long as my mind stays in it, I can play at this level for a minute. Now, that's up to my mind. My body is going to be OK because if my mind is into it, I will make sure my body is taken care of and I'll continue to put in the work."
James is only 574 points away from tying Abdul-Jabbar on the NBA's all-time scoring list. If he doesn't miss time and maintains his scoring average this season, he will move into the top spot in February.
Among the notable accomplishments on James' resume are four NBA titles in 10 trips to the Finals. His teams played in the Finals in eight consecutive seasons from 2011 to 2018.
He led the Cleveland Cavaliers to their only championship and engineered the only 3-1 series comeback in NBA Finals history against the Golden State Warriors in 2016.
James is one of five players to win the NBA MVP award at least four times. His four NBA Finals MVP awards rank second all-time behind Michael Jordan (six).