Since debuting with Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz eight seasons ago, Mike James has proven to be among the most exciting Turkish Airlines Euroleague players this century, a non-stop scorer whose ability to decide games on late shots is unique.
In a Round 19 replay on Tuesday, James didn’t need any late-game heroics to lead AS Monaco to a valuable 75-100 road win over LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne. In fact, he was just the third-best scorer on his team.
Nonetheless, James’s 20 points on Tuesday made him just the ninth scorer this century to join an exclusive club of EuroLeague players with 3,000 career points. His achievement was all the more impressive because James needed just 187 games to reach the milestone, making him the second-fastest player ever to score 3,000 points.
James opened fire on Tuesday with the game’s first basket, had 8 points by the end of the first quarter and 13 at halftime. But Monaco’s fans had to wait till midway through the last quarter to see his historic moment. It happened on one of his patented shots, a corner three-pointer that made it 65-89 with under 6 minutes left, icing both the outcome and his place in the record books.
With that bucket, James put himself behind only Nando De Colo of Fenerbache Beko Istanbul among the fastest players to 3,000 points.
James acknowledged that reaching the milestone felt good, but also showed more of a team-oriented mindset.
“It is nice. It’s always nice to be one of a few, but it’s just a win, really,” he said coming off the court after the win.
“I think we played very hard tonight and I think this came out with the win. We’ve just got to keep building. I think we are starting to get better, playing more as a unit, and we’ve got everything in front of us.”