James Harden's 53rd career triple-double in a 124-120 win against the Clippers didn't shake up the NBA's all-time triple-doubles list -- he still holds the No.8 spot, 6 shy of Larry Bird's 59. However, his performance on Wednesday did alter two other all-time lists, one of which was monopolized by Kevin Garnett.
With his 14th assist on the night, Harden passed The Big Ticket for 50th on the NBA's all-time assists leaderboard. James now stands alone at No. 50 with 5,446 career assists -- 53 shy of Dennis Johnson at 49.
The Nets superstar officially knocking down KG out of Top 50 NBA all-time assists leaders means Garnett is no longer the only player in the top 50 all-time in all five major statistical categories. He's currently:
- 18th in PTS (26,071)
- 9th in REB (14,662)
- 51st in AST (5,445)
- 18th in BLK (2,037)
- 18th in STL (1,859)
Since the NBA started tracking steals and blocks in 72-73, Garnett was the only player to accumulate enough numbers to reach the top 50 in all five categories. Pre-steal/block era, Oscar Robertson is the only one who may have had a chance of doing the same since he easily cracked the Top 50 points/rebounds/assists club.
LeBron James is the only active player with a somewhat of a chance of re-establishing the club. The Lakers' superstar is 3rd all-time in points, 50th in rebounds, 8th in assists, 14th in steals, and 106th in blocks. LeBron needs another 360 blocks to pass Zydrunas Ilgauskas for 50th all-time, which at the rate of career-average 0.8 blocks per game, will take James 450 games to do. With the inevitable drop in athleticism, that number will probably go even higher.
I'm not willing to bet against LeBron even this late into his NBA career, but it seems very unlikely he'll be able to do it. The guy is rewriting the NBA record books but will probably come up short of reaching the top 50 in five major statistical categories. That alone speaks to how unique Kevin Garnett's all-time great career was, regardless of Harden's record-breaking night against the Clippers.
KG is still one of the greatest all-around players we've ever seen, and that's something that will never change.