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LeBron James rings in 38th birthday with tremendous performance vs. Hawks

The Lakers' superstar scores 47 points, nearly becoming the 1st player in league history to record a triple-double on his birthday.

LeBron James scores a season-high 47 points on his 38th birthday.

LeBron James has spent a lifetime surpassing outsized expectations. And with his 38th birthday coming on the court, why bother being surprised when he turned in a performance no one could have fairly anticipated heading in:

47 points. 10 rebounds. 9 assists. A block. 18-for-27 shooting. 4-for-6 from range. 7-for-8 at the line. A 130-121 victory.

Goodness. Gracious.

A single assist was all that stood between James and the first birthday triple-double in NBA history. Yet his season-high 47 — only two of which came in the 1st quarter — was good enough to make him the fourth player in league history to drop at least 45 points at age 38 or older, joining Michael Jordan (3 times), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jamal Crawford.

James’ performance on Friday is the second-most points he’s ever had on his birthday, trailing only his 48-point outpour when he turned 25 in 2009.

It also marked his 70th career game of 40-plus points, tying Kareem and Rick Barry for 8th all-time. He now trails Abdul-Jabbar by only 527 points for the all-time lead.

James had his mother Gloria and his wife Savannah sitting courtside for his birthday.

“They’ve been with me since before this 20-year campaign started,” he said. “They’re the rock to everything that I do. To have them there tonight sitting courtside and just being a part of this journey, being here for my birthday, being here for the holidays, it’s pretty cool.”

And the NBA family was watching him too, praising the 38-year-old superstar on social media after the victory:

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.