Michael Jordan’s Double-Digit Scoring Streak Was Incredible (and Almost Even Longer)
LeBron James has scored in double-digits in 541 straight games, the fourth-longest streak in NBA history. The longest stretch belongs to Michael Jordan, naturally, who notched at least 10 points in 866 consecutive games; LeBron is still four years away from breaking it, if he’ll do it at all. Jordan’s run lasted from 1986 (his second year in the league) to 2001 (when he was on the Wizards), and what’s fascinating about the streak is how close it was to being considerably longer.
The one time Jordan scored in single-digits with the Bulls occurred after he had scored in double-digits in the first 89 games of his career. In the 930 regular season games Jordan played in as a member of the Bulls, he scored 10 or more points 929 times, and then went on to score 10-plus in his first 26 games as a Wizard. Not bad, right?
The date of Jordan’s lone scoring blemish, if you will, as a Bull came on Mar. 22, 1986. It was his fifth game back from a foot injury that had kept him out for most of the season, and he wasn’t starting (which alone is pretty remarkable). In 16 minutes off the bench, Jordan shot just 4-13 from the floor and finished with 8 points as the Bulls lost to the Cavaliers by 26, thanks to a 38-point outburst from Cavs guard World B. Free.
In short: Jordan’s double-digit streak is at 866 games, rather than 956 games, because of a lousy 2 points, and that doesn’t consider how much longer he could have made that streak had he not retired in 1994 or 1999.
For 15 years, the 8-point night against Cleveland (a team he exacted revenge on countless times) was his career-low. But that changed on Dec. 27, 2001, when he finished with 6 points against the Pacers. Clearly embarrassed, the 38-year-old Jordan scored 51 and 45 points over his next two games. But later that year, Jordan scored just 2 points against the Lakers in a game where he only suited up for 12 minutes; he didn’t play in another game that year, citing a bad knee.
The double-digit scoring streak is unique in that it requires an equal dose of skill and durability, both of which LeBron has in droves. There’s no question that LeBron is capable of obliterating the mark, as scoring 10 points in a game shouldn’t be much of a challenge for a player of LeBron’s size and build unless they’re named Anthony Bennett. (Burn.) No, the real challenge is staying healthy—and even if LeBron does make it to 867 straight games in double-figures, purists will be able to argue that LeBron only bested Jordan because of a broken foot, compulsive retiring, and 2 points. And you know that’s just what they’ll do.