With a drop-off pass to Wayne Ellington in the fourth quarter Sunday night, LeBron James recorded his 9,888th assist, passing Oscar Robertson (9,887) for seventh on the all-time assists list in NBA history. It was part of another do-it-all effort from James, who led the Los Angeles Lakers with 35 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in a 127-119 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.
But despite the loss, James’ fingerprints were all over the game per usual. The assist that tied James with Robertson and the one that passed him showed the wide range in his passing ability. The first, which was a lob to Dwight Howard from the 3-point line, illustrated the elite court vision we’ve come to expect from the four-time champion. While the dump-off pass to Ellington wasn’t as flashy as the lob pass, it was a textbook example of how James can manipulate the defense to get a teammate an open look.
Next up on the list for James to pass is Lakers legend Magic Johnson, who finished his career with 10,141 assists over 13 seasons in the NBA. That puts LeBron 254 assists away from passing Johnson, and if he continues to average over 6.5 assists for the rest of the season, there’s a very good chance he could catch him before the regular season is over.