With his historic display against Cleveland, LeBron James entered the “old but still amazing” club. The Cavaliers saw James scoring 46 points at 36 years and 26 days old. That means LeBron is now fifth in most points in a game by a player aged 36 or older.
James was unstoppable playing first time in his home arena. But some players did the same thing or even better in the past. In front of James, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar also scored 46 in 1986 against Houston, but he was 38 years and 296 days old.
Jamal Crawford, known as JCrossover, put up 51 points for Phoenix against Dallas in 2019. Crawford has joined basketball icon Michael Jordan who also scored 51 against Charlotte in 2001, shooting 55,3% from the field and going 0-2 from behind the arc.
However, MJ dominates this list. In the top 20 performances, MJ has eight games with 40 or more points aged 36 or older, and all of them came in his Washington Wizards days. In fact, there are only nine different names in the top 20 performances of this kind. Except those already mentioned, among the best veterans are Shaquille O’Neal, Karl Malone, Walter Davis, Dirk Nowitzki, and, of course, Kobe Bryant.
Kobe’s 60 points against the Jazz on April 13, 2016, is unmatched to this day and will probably be for some time. Kobe scored 60 in his career finale, one of the most memorable and emotional games ever played. It took six minutes for Bryant to get on the scoreboard, he missed five straight shots, but he never stopped after getting the first points.
Kobe shot 44.0% from the field and 28.6% from deep, in a game in which everyone wanted for him to shoot the ball in every possession. He answered their wishes with 50 shots against the Jazz. At that time, Kobe was 37 years and 234 days old.
The Lakers are in safe hands Kobe. Rest in peace.