Lebron James surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the all-time leading scorer was an impressive feat that speaks not only to James’ longevity but high-level production sustained over nearly an unprecedented period. The number 38,227 was an astronomical number that had stood since 1984 and was a mark that was felt by many to be unattainable. However as impressive as this feat is, eventually the record James sets will fall. Contributing to this eventuality is the fact the NBA has overwhelmingly swung the pendulum in favor of the offense, meaning at no other point in the 75-year history of the Association has it been easier to score. The defense has been subdued to the point that it is no longer an opposing force to overcome but is now just a mild inconvenience in the goal of offenses putting up ever-gaudier numbers. Additionally, the modern athlete has resources at their disposal contributing to the extension of careers to ages unfathomable 15-20 years ago. This means, barring rules changes, NBA players will face less resistance and will potentially have more time to put up massive offensive statistics.
The increased slant of the current NBA game towards the offense means other all-time offensive statistics may be on significantly more borrowed time This will also ring true for the all-time marks for rebounds, Wilt Chamberlain’s 23924, as well as that of the 15806, assists that John Stockton handed out.
However, there is a current record that is in little danger of falling and many of the standout players of this epoch already have no shot of breaking. That number is 1192. That is the number of consecutive games played by AC Green. Green’s streak began on November 19, 1986, in a win against the San Antonio Spurs and culminated in the final game of his career on April 18, 2001, against the Orlando Magic.
The Nets’ Mikal Bridges has the longest current active with 392 games, having not missed a game in his five NBA seasons. If Bridges continues on his current paces, and barring any season-altering events taking place, he will not break the record until late in the 2033-34 season.
What stands in not only Bridges, or any other player, reaching, much less eclipsing the mark is one of modern NBA favorite tenets- load management. The days of playing 82 games consistently have gone the way of the dinosaur with just 10 players in the Association lacing them up for all 82 this season:
- Kevon Looney, Golden State Warriors
- Jordan Poole, Golden State Warriors
- Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings
- Derrick White, Boston Celtics
- Isaiah Hartenstein, New York Knicks
- Nikola Vucevic, Chicago Bulls
- Patrick Williams, Chicago Bulls
- Kenyon Martin Jr, Houston Rockets
- Tari Eason, Houston Rockets
- Mikal Bridges, Phoenix Suns/Brooklyn Nets
With load management appearing to cement itself as an unfortunate by-product of the modern NBA, the consecutive games played mark will become the white whale of NBA records.