LeBron James closes in on breaking Kobe Bryant’s Christmas Day records

December 25, 2021
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) talks to Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant (24) during a free throw in an NBA basketball game in Cleveland on Feb. 8, 2009.
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LeBron James is nicknamed The King. He even refers to himself as such. 

But he will soon be dubbed the King of Christmas as he suits up for his 16th Christmas Day game, tying all-time leader Kobe Bryant, who played 16 times on Christmas during his 20-year career.

That’s not the only Christmas Day record of Bryant’s that James is chasing down when the Los Angeles Lakers host the COVID-riddled Brooklyn Nets on Saturday.

James is only 13 points away from passing Bryant to become the all-time leading scorer on Christmas Day. James currently ranks No. 2 with 383 career points on Christmas Day, while Bryant has 395 points. James also needs two field goals to pass Bryant’s 137 for the most-ever on Christmas Day. He currently has 136.

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Although James has previously expressed disdain toward being away from his family on Christmas Day, his stance toward the holidays has eased over the seasons. Last year, he said he was so excited for the Lakers’ Christmas Day matchup against the Dallas Mavericks that it “might be hard for me to sleep.”

James has won 10 games on Christmas Day, tied with Dwyane Wade for the most in NBA history. 

That’s no easy feat leading the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers against the likes of Tracy McGrady (2003), Wade (2007, 2014), Bryant (2009-2010), Dirk Nowitzki (2011) Kevin Durant (2012, 2016, 2017), Stephen Curry (2015, 2016) and Kawhi Leonard (2019) over the years.

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The Lakers-Nets matchup was poised to be a showdown between James and Kevin Durant, who are both tied for the most three-pointers made on Christmas Day with 25 each. But it’s not clear if Durant will play after entering the NBA’s health and safety protocols earlier this week amid a surge of COVID-19 cases across the league. 

Durant is one of nine Nets player on the COVID list, joining Paul Millsap, LaMarcus Aldridge, James Johnson and DeAndre’ Bembry and guards James Harden, Bruce Brown and Jevon Carter in the protocols. Kyrie Irving was also added to the list.

The Lakers have also been battling personnel issues. Anthony Davis was ruled out for at least four weeks after he suffered a sprained MCL in his left knee on Friday. Five Lakers, including center Dwight Howard, are in health and safety protocols, in addition to Lakers head coach Frank Vogel.

BROOKLYN NETS: Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving enter protocol

LOS ANGELES LAKERS: Anthony Davis out at least four weeks with sprained MCL 



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