In a rare twist to his storied career, LeBron James, the NBA's all-time leading scorer, has etched his name in the record books once again, albeit for a reason he might not have anticipated. During a heated clash with the Phoenix Suns, James became the first player in NBA history to surpass 5,000 career turnovers, an unwelcome yet significant milestone.
This record, while not celebrated, underscores a reality in professional basketball: turnovers are an inevitable part of the game, especially for players who often handle the ball. James’ ascent to this record is a testament to his longevity and predominant role in the game.
He eclipsed Karl Malone's previous high of 4,525 turnovers back in 2021, setting a bar that may stand for years to come.
Turnover Greats List
Turnovers, though often viewed negatively, are a common feature among some of the game's greats.
The all-time turnover leaderboard is a who's who of basketball legends, including John Stockton, Jason Kidd, and Magic Johnson. These players, like James, were pivotal in their teams' ball-handling and playmaking, leading to higher turnover counts.
Among active players, Russell Westbrook and James Harden follow closest in James' footsteps, but reaching the 5,000 turnover mark seems unlikely given their career trajectories. When breaking down the turnover per game average, LeBron stands at 3.50, with Westbrook leading at 4.06, followed by Harden with 3.73, and Kevin Durant at 3.17.
However, James' impressive tally of 1,429 games over 21 seasons outpaces his contemporaries, highlighting his extraordinary endurance in the NBA. Westbrook recently crossed the 1,100-game mark, while Harden joined the 1,000-game club.
Durant is close behind, nearing this significant career milestone. In the grand scheme of things, LeBron James' new turnover record adds another layer to his complex legacy. It is a reminder of both his unmatched involvement in the game and the natural byproduct of being a central figure in the sport for over two decades.
As the NBA continues to evolve, James' records, both celebrated and otherwise, will stand as a testament to his enduring influence on basketball.