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Ever since early in his rookie year, when we all found out just how good LeBron James could be, the idea that he would become the Cavaliers' all-time leading scorer seemed like something of a foregone conclusion. Now he's done it, and in his latest, Erik Cassano talks about the record, about LeBron, and about the men he surpassed to achieve immortality as a Cleveland Cavalier.
Ever since early in his rookie year, when we all found out just how good
James could be, the idea that he would become the Cavaliers' all-time leading scorer seemed like something of a foregone conclusion.
All it would take is steering clear of the typical Cleveland witch's brew of catastrophic injuries, disastrous trades and unrealized potential, and the math would take care of the rest.
....OK, so it wasn't as easy as hopping on the treadmill and setting the dial for 10,390 points. Not when the
Era in Cleveland has also seen devastating injuries befall several Browns players. Not when we had a front-row seat to the injury-plagued career of Larry Hughes for more than two years.
But a player of
caliber should be able to overcome at least a mild amount of adversity to set a new bar for a
franchise that previously only knew greatness in the context of what might have been.
A quick glance at the history books on Saturday showed that only the Miami Heat (Alonzo Mourning, 9,459), Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets (Dell Curry, 9,839), Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies (
, 8,966) and four-year-old Charlotte Bobcats (Gerald Wallace, 3,994) have lower all-time scoring records than the
did heading into Friday's game, when Brad Daugherty was the pacesetter at 10,389 points.
The fact that a team that has existed since 1970 couldn't produce a player able to break the 10,400-point barrier prior to Friday speaks to the caliber of player the
have put on the floor for most of their history. But not entirely.
Daugherty could easily have been one of the top 20 centers of all time had a herniated back disc and subsequent surgery not derailed his career at age 28. He could have, and should have, finished with somewhere around 20,000 career points. However, despite being one of the cornerstones of the great
Coliseum-based teams of the late 1980s and early '90s, Daugherty never played a dribble of basketball for the
after the team moved to
Arena in 1994.
Austin Carr, the
' scoring king prior to Daugherty, managed to last a decade in a
uniform, but like Daugherty, injuries took their toll on the once-prolific scorer and now he's better known for his on-air quips and malapropisms as a
television commentator than for anything he accomplished on the court.
No, it wasn't the Everest of team scoring records that
ascended. But the
have had a few guys who could play some ball over their 38 years of franchise existence, so the record isn't chump change, either.
would be a new perspective on greatness for many NBA franchises. Take
career point total away from the context of the
' scoring record, and what might seem like a lightweight accomplishment for a previously-lightweight franchise suddenly takes on a whole new, and far more impressive, form.
scored his 10,414
career point in Friday's win over the Raptors. Friday was March 21, 82 days after
has scored 10,414 career points before the quarter mark of his 24
was a little less than two months shy of his 19
birthday when he stepped on the floor in Sacramento for his first-ever NBA game in November 2003. That's four years and about three and a half months ago.
Perhaps that's the most impressive aspect of
' scoring record. The real story isn't that he broke the record, it's when he did it, within his first five NBA seasons. Even in the two more seasons he's guaranteed to be in a
uniform, he is on pace to put the team's scoring record well out of reach for years.
Assuming he continues to average somewhere around 2,110 points scored per season, as he did for his first four seasons in the league, he should be up over 15,000 career points by the end of his current contract -- 16,000 isn't out of the question if the 2,347 points he's on pace to score this season signals
reaching a new gear in terms of yearly production.
If he re-signs with the
, then we're talking about 20,000 and 25,000 career points, and the focus shifts from team history to all-time history.
If you're a team looking to be rescued from the doldrums of mediocrity and anonymity, as the
surely were when
arrived at their front door, this is how you want your franchise scoring mark to be broken: Swiftly, efficiently and by a player who is, without a doubt, the greatest to wear your uniform.
No offense to Daugherty and Carr, excellent and beloved players in their own right, but to have your team's scoring record broken by another aging ex-star who has battled time and injuries to hang around long enough to sink one last milestone jumper would only perpetuate the idea that the best your team can ever hope for is to aim low and remain content with the result.
, with his lightning-fast acquisition of yet another record, is once again leading us into uncharted waters, which is a very good thing.
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