Playing in his 20th season in the NBA, LeBron James reminded everyone on Monday that he is still one of the best players on the planet after dropping a season high to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a win over the Houston Rockets.
James was hilariously reminded just how long he has been playing, too.
The moment was captured on NBA TV when James was getting set to guard Rockets rookie Jabari Smith Jr. The microphone picked up Smith dropping the news to James that he played against his father during his first game with Cleveland on Oct. 29, 2003.
Jabari Smith Sr. played 108 games in the NBA from 2001-2005. He was with the Kings when James debuted in Sacramento but did not play in the 106-92 win over the Cavaliers. He would eventually play against James the following season with the Nets.
The interaction, James said, definitely aged him a bit.
Well, it made me feel extremely old. I think he even said that: ‘You probably feel old’ or something like that. I am extremely blessed to be able to play this game and be able to touch multiple generations. Kenyon Martin Jr. was out there on the court, as well. I played against his dad. Gary Trent Sr. and his son, obviously, now in Toronto. Gary Payton and his son. It is just a unique thing I’ve been able to compete with now versus father and son combinations.
The 38-year-old James dropped 48 points, nine assists and eight rebounds in the 140-132 win over the Rockets. His 48 points were tied for the fourth-most ever on Martin Luther King Jr. Day as the Lakers snapped a three-game losing streak with the win.
Smith, 19, had 14 points, four rebounds and four assists.
James had the opportunity to catch up with the Smiths afterward, and it created one special moment for the father-and-son duo that was shared on social media.
James’ 20 seasons in the NBA are, of course, in rare air as only five players have had longer careers — Vince Carter (22), Robert Parish (21), Kevin Willis (21), Kevin Garnett (21) and Dirk Nowitzki (21). James will likely top Carter when it is all said and done.
Certainly, the longer that James plays means more moments like the one on Monday will continue to happen. James has even played against Ziaire Williams, who was teammates with his son, Bronny, at Sierra Canyon High School.
James continues to show that his overall body of work will likely be unmatched in history. His commitment to the game has been a sight to behold as the King has touched multiple generations of players.