Saturday, February 24, 2024

“Better than LeBron James”: Caitlin Clark’s record-breaking 1,000 assists has college hoops world drawing bold NBA comparisons

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Despite losing 82-79 to Nebraska on Sunday, Caitlin Clark hit a statistical milestone and impressed basketball fans. Clark became just the sixth player in the history of women’s basketball to compile 1,000 career assists.

Incidentally, just four men’s NCAA players have reached the mark. But when it came time to draw comparisons, some fans went even higher with their aim.

When Caitlin Clark amassed her 1,000th career assist in the third quarter against Nebraska, some big comparisons began. As seen above, one fan compared her not to women’s assist leader Suzie McConnell or men’s assist leader Bobby Hurley, but to the great LeBron James.

Others might not have aimed quite that high, but their praise of Clark was high.

Comparing Caitlin Clark and LeBron James

"Better than LeBron": One fan made an audacious comparison after Caitlin Clark's 1,000th career assist.
“Better than LeBron”: One fan made an audacious comparison after Caitlin Clark’s 1,000th career assist.

Of course, James didn’t play college basketball, while Clark has had four seasons of college to amass her totals. Clark joined only five previous players, including Courtney Vandersloot (1,118 assists) and Sabrina Ionescu (1,091) in reaching the 1,000 assist mark. She’s also likely to pass men’s leader Bobby Hurley’s 1,076 career assists.

As for James, he led the NBA in assists in the 2019-20 season and was second in the 2017-18 season. His career total of 10,792 assists ranks fourth on the league’s career list. That said, James is 939 assists behind Chris Paul (who is also still active) for third place, meaning his total is unlikely to rise to the top of that list.

Meanwhile, Clark has led the NCAA in assists in her freshman and junior seasons (2020-21 and 2022-23) and is currently leading the nation in assists. Her outlier season, 2021-22, came when she finished second in the nation in assists, three behind Seton Hall’s Lauren Park-Lane.

James broke Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s career scoring mark in February 2023. Clark finished Sunday’s game just eight points away from surpassing Kelsey Plum’s career scoring record. She’s only 147 points shy of Pete Maravich’s men’s scoring mark (set in three seasons).

Of course, one area where Clark trails James is championships. While Clark led Iowa to the 2023 NCAA title game, her Hawkeyes were defeated there. Of course, LeBron James’s first title run also came up short in the 2007 NBA Finals. But King James has gone on to claim four NBA championships.

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Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein

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