LeBron James sets all-time NBA record for assists by a forward: 'It's huge'

Blake Murphy
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James' assault on the NBA record book continues.

With 11 assists against the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday, the Cleveland Cavaliers' superstar passed NBA legend Scottie Pippen in career assists with 6,142. That makes James the most prolific passing forward in league history, an incredible feat speaking to his singular ability as a playmaker from the wing.

While qualifying players as a forward can be somewhat difficult - a lot of players, specifically wings, play or played multiple positions - James ranks first even if combo wings are considered to be full-time forwards.

  • LeBron James, 6,142
  • Scottie Pippen, 6,135
  • Clyde Drexler, 6,125
  • John Havlicek, 6,114
  • Larry Bird, 5,695

In passing Pippen, James also moves into 27th all time in assists, with Jerry West next in his sights. He's reached the perch quickly, with all but five of the names ahead of him having played more games.

James reflected on the record following Tuesday's game, ranking it among his favorite career accomplishments:

The assists thing is obviously probably one of the greatest achievements I've had in my career. Obviously, winning a championship (also), for sure. Like I said, the assists for me is something that's very cool, it's something that's always kind of driven me out on the basketball floor. And seeing my guys succeed and to know the category I was in with (players) like (Larry) Bird and Pippen, it's huge.

James has averaged 6.9 assists per game in his 890-game career, a rate that ranks 29th in history. He's also assisted on 34.3 percent of his teammate's field goals when he's on the floor, a rate that ranks 30th.

Just this weekend, James passed Allen Iverson for 22nd on the league's all-time scoring list, something he cares far less about.

"It means way more than what I did passing Allen Iverson on Sunday," James said. "I've always took a lot of pride and I get more of a rush seeing my teammates succeed more than myself. And that's what an assist is all about."

Still 30, James stands to be strewn across the entire record book by the time his career comes to a close.