Nikola Jokic makes history, passes LeBron in major career stat
Nov 7, 2023, 12:58 AM
DENVER—What has taken LeBron James 1,427 games, Nikola Jokic has outdone in 604—as the Denver Nuggets star big man passed the NBA legend for fourth place in career triple-doubles on Monday.
Jokic rained in 35 points, tallied 14 rebounds and threw 12 assists as the Nuggets overcame a 20-point deficit to beat the New Orleans Pelicans 134-116. It was the Joker’s 108th carer triple-double passing Hall of Famer Jason Kidd and the still-active James. Jokic only trails Magic Johnson by 30 for third, and only Oscar Robertson (181) and the still-active Russell Westbrook (198) have more.
“Empowering people is pretty cool. And I think Nikola Jokic empowers people,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said after the win vs the Pels.
The Nuggets big has earnestly begun to battle with James in legacy rankings as of late, beating the Lakers in last year’s Western Conference Final. The Joker handed King James the earliest postseason sweep of his career. Both the Serbian and Arkon native are headed for Springfield one day but for now the one in his prime and the ageless wonder battle.
The Nuggets have started an NBA-best 7-1 this season with the Lakers at 3-4. Jokic of course has to catch LeBron in titles, as the Nuggets captured their first this season. James has won five times for three separate teams and most recently in 2020’s bubble.
“Winning is fun and losing sucks,” Jokic said. “We’re going to try to win as much as possible. We’re not going to be cocky but we want to be greedy.”
Jokic’s career numbers in total and average still pale in comparison to the NBA’s All-Time Scoring King. But Jokic does have some better efficiency numbers, with some fancy stats claiming him as one of if not the best player of all-time. Jokic’s rebounding and passing are likely better than James but Jokic has only come close to touching James’ scoring marks.
What was once maybe a discussion of Steph Curry or LeBron, or who takes over the league from the two in Giannis Antetokounmpo or Kevin Durant has faded into the greatness of the best second-round pick in history and the greatest Denver Nugget of all-time.
“What I see from him, and where he has grown and improved, is his presence. Him being in the moment, emotionally invested in his teammates, speaking up in huddles, in practice,” Malone said.