NBA

The most notable birthday performances from NBA superstars

Los Angeles Lakers superstar forward LeBron James turned 36 on Dec. 30, 2020.

Of the many ways to bring in a birthday, James will do so at work, as the Lakers are in San Antonio for the first of two games against the Spurs. It marks the seventh time that James will bring in his birthday on the court and the first time since he was 33.

Historically, LeBron shows out on his day, posting averages of 32.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.6 assists but nothing tops his 25th birthday when he scored 48 points in a win over the Atlanta Hawks. James' performance on Dec. 30, 2009 adds to a list of impressive birthday performances from superstars.

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Here are five of the most notable ones…

Shaquille O'Neal's 28th birthday

Date: Mar. 6, 2000

Stat line: 61 PTS, 23 REB, 3 AST

This has to be the best birthday performance ever.

The Big Fella was his most dominant self, finishing with a career-high 61 points on 24-for-35 (68.6%) shooting and 23 rebounds (seven offensive) in the Lakers' 123-103 rout of the LA Clippers - making it 16 wins in a row for the Lakers.

Shaq became just the fourth player in NBA history to record a 60-20 game, joining Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain and George Mikan. O'Neal went on to win league MVP as he led the Lakers to the first of three consecutive NBA titles.

Dominique Wilkins' 27th birthday

Date: Jan. 12, 1987

Stat line: 53 PTS, 6 REB, 2 AST

Sorry, Clippers.

Nique brought 27 in the right way, scoring 53 points on 19-for-25 (76.0%) shooting as his Atlanta Hawks earned a 10-point win over the Clippers. Wilkins connected on his lone (!) 3-point attempt of the game and scored an additional 14 points from the free-throw line, where he was 14-for-19 on the game.

LeBron James' 25th birthday

Date: Dec. 30, 2009

Stat line: 48 PTS, 10 REB, 6 AST, 2 STL, 2 BLK

In true LeBron fashion, he did a bit of everything on his 25th.

With the Atlanta Hawks visiting the Cavaliers, James erupted for 48 points, shooting 15-for-23 from the field and 4-for-6 from beyond the arc. King James also added 10 rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks as the Cavs handed a solid Hawks squad a five-point loss.

Michael Jordan's 29th birthday

Date: Feb. 17, 1991

Stat line: 46 PTS, 6 AST, 4 REB

Jordan's Bulls suffered a one-point loss, but he did everything in his power to lead them on the day he turned 29.

In 43 minutes of action, MJ finished with 46 points on 21-for-32 shooting to go along with six assists and four rebounds. Jordan didn't hit any 3s on the night and shot just 4-for-5 from the free-throw line in the game. It was a rare birthday performance for Jordan, whose mid-February birthday often aligns with All-Star festivities.

Anthony Davis' 24th birthday

Date: Mar. 11, 2017

Stat line: 46 PTS, 21 REB, 3 AST

The youngest on the list put forth a monster performance.

In league history, only 11 players have scored 45 or more points and pulled down 20 or more rebounds before the age of 25. AD did it twice.

On his 24th birthday, Davis and the Pelicans earned a three-point win over the Charlotte Hornets. In 45 minutes of action, Davis finished with 46 points on 18-for-31 (58.1%) shooting from the field, including 4-for-5 from deep, 21 rebounds (four offensive) and three assists.

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