15 years ago today, LeBron James made his NBA debut.
On October 29, 2003 an 18-year old James finished with 25 points and 9 assists on 12-20 shooting in 42 minutes in a loss at the Sacramento Kings.
👑 15 years ago today, LeBron James recorded 25p/6r/9a in his @NBA debut.- NBA History (@NBAHistory) October 29, 2018
He averaged 20.9p/5.5r/5.9a his 2003-04 rookie season, & became the youngest player to be named Rookie of the Year. #NBAVault pic.twitter.com/2wE3hbrT1J
After the game, James's agent at the time, Aaron Goodwin, said simply: "I think that was LeBron's statenent to the league that he's here. He's for real."
His opponents were quick to offer praise as well.
Kings centre Vlade Divac, who is now the GM of the team: "It was the first I've seen of him and I was real impressed. He's the real deal."
Kings guard Bobby Jackson: "He's a talent. Look at how he plays. The best thing about him is how he distributs the ball. He does it extremely well."
Little did Jackson know that James would go on to become the all-time assist leader among forwards and is on the cusp of climbing into the top 10, regardless of position. 15 years later, James sits at 11th all-time, 266 behind Andre Miller.
Other notable NBA debuts
James was spectacular in his NBA debut especially given he was coming straight out of high school. James scored more points than Kobe Bryant (0), Kevin Garnett (8), Tracy McGrady (0), Amar'e Stoudemire (10) and Jermaine O'Neal (2) combined, other future All-Stars that entered the NBA straight out of high school.
Here is how LeBron's debut stacks up with some other NBA legends:
- October 26, 1984 vs Bullets
- Age: 21 years, 252 days
- 16 points, 5-16 FG, 7 assists, 6 rebounds in 40 minutes
- November 3, 1996 vs Timberwolves
- Age: 18 years, 72 days
- 0 points, 0-1 FG, 0 assists, 1 rebound in 6 minutes
- October 12, 1979 vs Clippers
- Age: 20 years, 59 days
- 26 points, 10-21 FG, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 blocks in 41 minutes
- October 12, 1979 vs Rockets
- Age: 22 years, 309 days
- 14 points, 6-12 FG, 10 rebounds, 5 assists in 28 minutes
- October 24, 1959 vs Knicks
- Age: 23 years, 64 days
- 43 points, 17-27 FG, 28 rebounds in 48 minutes
- October 18, 1969 vs Pistons
- Age: 22 years, 185 days
- 29 points, 12-27 FG, 12 rebounds, 6 asssts
- October 19, 1960 vs Lakers
- Age: 21 years, 330 days
- 21 points, 8-20 FG, 12 rebounds, 10 assists