The Oklahoma City Thunder have seen Shai Gilgeous-Alexander burst onto the scene, becoming a first-time NBA All-Star and marching his way to his first All-NBA honor by season’s end. During this breakout, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander helped the OKC Thunder play spoiler on LeBron James during his historic night.
LeBron James became the NBA’s All-Time leading scorer on February 7th, 2023, against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The League rightfully stopped the game for roughly 15 minutes to honor the living legend who will play long enough to make his record untouchable, for real this time, when it is all said and done.
The OKC Thunder are set to play the L.A. Lakers on Friday night back in L.A. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander takes us through the night LeBron James broke the scoring record.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was asked what he thinks of LeBron James’ game, starting with how much longer he thinks James can play. To which SGA said, “The way it is looking? As long as he wants. He is averaging 30! Usually, players trickle [down in points] a little bit, so if he averages 26 next year, then he averages 24, then he averages 20, we still got four years from now. Usually, players stop when they hit 12 or 10 [points per game],” Gilgeous-Alexander explained.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was five years old when LeBron James was drafted, but when asked if he looked up to James, the All-Star said he “never liked [LeBron James’] game” because “[LeBron James] was just super athletic, I wasn’t that, he was 6’8 and super strong, I was not that either.” He said, “It is fun beating [LeBron James]. It is fun beating everybody, though.”
Then, the episode moves into the night LeBron James became the all-time leading scorer. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander reflects on that moment by saying, “we had a really good team meeting that morning about staying focused and getting what we wanted to get done that night.”
Though personally, Gilgeous-Alexander saw this game as “an opportunity where I could arrive.” He knew “obviously everyone in the world was going to be watching the game. I just wanted to showcase my talent.”
“Once the ball is in the air, I am in attack mode,” Gilgeous-Alexander continued to explain his mindset. “Mentally, I tell myself every single night I am the best player on the floor.”
That night, Gilgeous-Alexander posted 30 points, eight assists, two steals, and two rebounds in 38 minutes of action to help secure a 133-130 win for the Oklahoma City Thunder.