LeBron James became the third person to reach 36,000 all-time points in his career, behind only Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and the Lakers veteran did so by starting in center.

NBA League Pass: Sign Up to Unlock Live Off-Market Games (7-Day Free Trial)

James, who will turn 37 before the end of the year, has once again had a phenomenal individual season for the Lakers, averaging 27.6 points, seven rebounds and 6.7 assists per game so far in 2023-22. . On Christmas Day he surpassed Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer on Christmas Day.

Tuesday night against the Houston Rockets, James became the third player to score 36,000 points, and he did so while starting at center for the Covid and injury-ravaged Lakers. James’ 32-point performance marks his fifth straight game with more than 30 points, and his triple-double against the Rockets was his fifth 30-point triple-double since he turned 35.

The Lakers snapped a five-game losing streak with a win against Houston.

“I never played center in my life. I’ve always been on the band or handling the ball. I was a skinny, lanky kid growing up, “James said after the game.

The Lakers have been hit hard this season by Covid and injuries, and have had to rotate a ton of new faces in the lineup, while interim coach David Fizdale has had to get creative in changing his established players in different positions to adapt. to each game. above.

They played an eight-man rotation against the Rockets.

Throughout his career, James has been called a forward (the Lakers essentially won the championship two seasons ago with LeBron playing point guard) and says that he has taken note of the responsibilities of all positions during his NBA career, which He has allowed him to play center multiple times this season for the Lakers.

LeBron says he feels like can be successful in any type of alignment be it big or small.

“I think I’ve been proud throughout my career to be able to play in five positions. Or at least know all five positions. Know the commands,” James said. “So tonight … he asked me to start in center and I tried to be on a lot of plays.”

Fizdale said his gamble paid off.

“LeBron’s plus-minus at 5 is so ridiculous right now,” said Fizdale, who is replacing while Frank Vogel is on protocols, he said afterward. , ‘You know, I think tonight is the night to start with him at 5.’ “