Add another to the ever-growing list of records and accomplishments for LeBron James. With a second-quarter assist in Tuesday night's game against the Detroit Pistons, James passed Scottie Pippen for the most dimes by a forward in NBA history.
James' assist came on a three-point shot by Kevin Love. The four-time MVP entered Tuesday four assists shy of passing the Chicago Bulls legend, who tallied 6,135 assists in 17 NBA seasons. While it took Pippen 1,178 regular-season games to hit his mark, James managed to pass him in his 890th contest.
After the game, James and coach David Blatt commented on the feat, per Ethan J. Skolnick of Bleacher Report:
Regarded as perhaps the greatest passing forward in league history, James is in the midst of a milestone campaign. He has already passed legends Charles Barkley and Allen Iverson on the all-time scoring list, the latest achievement coming in Sunday's win over the New York Knicks.
"It's very, very humbling, and it's an honor to just be named with some of the greats that I watched growing up," James told reporters, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. "And now to know that I passed Allen Iverson on the all-time scoring list, for someone that's not much of a scorer—as you guys have deemed me—it is pretty cool."
Dan Feldman of Pro Basketball Talk explained why an accomplishment like this is so special:
"LeBron’s scoring might get most of the attention, but records like this are why he rates highly among the all-time greats. His all-around game – which also includes rebounding and, at times in his career, defending – is on another level."
Pippen and James have a historical relationship in that many people compared the latter to the former in his rise to superstardom. Pippen at his peak was very comparable to James, filling up the stat sheet in a variety of ways offensively while locking down an opponent's best player on the other end. In 2011, Pippen even generated some controversy by insinuating LeBron could unseat former teammate Michael Jordan as the greatest of all time.
"Michael Jordan is probably the greatest scorer to play the game. But I may go so far as to say LeBron James may be the greatest player to ever play the game because he is so potent offensively that not only can he score at will, but he keeps everybody involved," Pippen said, per CSN Chicago.
Pippen has since softened his stance, but his comments are indicative of the mutual admiration the two have for one another. James was even derided back in 2010 when some accused him of going to Miami to be the Scottie to Dwyane Wade's Michael.
Years later and after a return to Cleveland, few would ever make such a claim now. But as James continues climbing the scoring ladder and obliterates all assists records at his position, there may come a time when Pippen's 2011 assertion isn't that crazy.
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