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Saturday, January 22, 2022

Alexander: Can LeBron catch Karim? it seems inevitable now

World According to Jim:

• Father Time may be truly undefeated, but LeBron James is definitely waging a fight. And suddenly what once seemed like an unbroken record may not be.

Going into Saturday’s game in Denver, James — who turns 37 two days before New Year’s Day — has 36,239 career points in 1,340 games in an 18½ NBA season. He put himself in the MVP picture because of what he had to do for a struggling team this season: 36.9 minutes per game and a 29.1 scoring average overall and 34.2 in the last 12 games, most of it at the Lakers’ new center. Configured small-ball lineup while playing. ,

• Of course, it’s a respected Lakers center, followed by LeBron on the NBA’s career scoring list: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and his 38,387 points in 20 NBA seasons, the last at age 41. (Keep in mind that Karim played four collegiate seasons at UCLA as Lew Alcindor. LeBron played no collegiate season, as one of the last major players to jump straight into the league from high school.) …

• There was always the perception that Karim’s record was out of reach. But at his current rate, LeBron can pass Karim next season. That, of course, takes a lot—and the 12 missed games earlier this season are reminiscent of the influence of Father Time—but with the amount of time and attention LeBron devotes to his physical condition, it’s not as impossible as that once seemed. ,

• Kareem’s reaction? “If he can maintain his consistency, I will happily be there to congratulate him when he breaks the scoring record,” he tweeted earlier this week. And in September he told NBA writer Mark Stein (at a summit among Substack creators) that everyone wins when a record is broken: “I’m excited to see it. I treat records as personal achievements. I don’t look at me, but more as human achievements. If one person can do something that has never been done, it means we all have a shot at doing it. It’s a source of hope and inspiration. source.” ,

• At the top of the all-time scoring list are a splash of purple and gold. Karl Malone is No. 2 at 36,928 – the last 554 he scored as a Laker in 2003–04, after 18 seasons in Utah – and is 689 points ahead of LeBron. Kobe Bryant is number 4, 33,643. Then At 32,292 comes Michael Jordan. And with regards to the ranger, two others are in the top 10; Wilt Chamberlain (31,419) at No. 7 and Shaquille O’Neill (28,596) at No. 8. ,

• Sudden thought: Since LeBron is playing center these days, would he be working on Skyhook? ,

• Proposal Bet of the Week, according to the folks at BetOnline: Which number will be higher, the Lakers point total on Saturday night in Denver or the receiving yards for the Rams of Cooper Kupp on Monday night against Arizona? (The Lakers were the 5/6 favorite as of Friday morning.) …

• We received two more reminders this week that coaching while Black is the most vulnerable position in the NFL, when Miami’s Brian Flores and Houston’s David Cooley were fired for days in a row – the latter after just one season and the league’s most vulnerable. Winning four games with a bad roster. That leaves Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin, a black head coach in the NFL, who has 15 consecutive winning seasons with a stable franchise. Even NFL executive VP Troy Vincent acknowledges the double standard.

Read Also:  Chargers take risks, but Kansas City triumphs

In a sense it would be no surprise if Flores, as part of the Bill Belichick coaching tree, either took Bud’s place or got a shot at another opening. But in another sense, given how many black coaches get a second chance. Meanwhile, Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy is said to be a candidate in Denver. I’ll believe it when I see it. ,

• Monday’s Georgia-Alabama College Football national championship game attracted an estimated 22.6 million TV viewers, nearly four million more than last year’s Alabama-Ohio State game. That’s the good news. bad? This is the second-lowest viewership for a national championship game since the 2005 USC–Oklahoma BCS Finals (21.4 million), and behind every other season in the CFP era.

There are many factors, of course – a more stratified TV audience, a lack of subscribers due to ESPN’s cord-cutting, etc. But I’m curious how many people outside the South said to themselves: “SEC vs. SEC? Why bother?” ,

• Another TV rating item: Last Sunday night’s Chargers-Raiders game garnered a 13.7 rating and 32 shares in the huge Los Angeles TV market, where you’d imagine both Chargers and Raiders fans would be engaged. In San Diego, according to Jay Posner of the Union-Tribune, The game drew 19.9 and 46 shares. They may be hate-watchers in the Chargers’ former home but they still care, one way or another. ,

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