Watch LeBron James rack up his 9,000th career assist

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LOS ANGELES — From the minute he stepped onto an NBA court, LeBron James has always been more Magic than Michael. LeBron thought pass first. He tried to set up teammates and make the right basketball play — and was criticized for it by shallow pundits who wanted him to be like Mike.

This season, LeBron James has taken on the point guard/playmaking duties with the Lakers. That’s led to a career-best season of assists, averaging a league-leading 10.8 per game.

It felt fitting that LeBron picked up his 9,000th career assist Sunday night on a look-ahead to his current favorite target, Anthony Davis.

LeBron is ninth on the all-time assist list and will move up to eighth in the coming weeks when he moves past Isaiah Thomas.

“It’s something that was instilled in me when I first picked up a basketball,” LeBron said of his love of playmaking. “Little league coach Frank Walker always talked about it. It’s the greatest part of basketball to be able to see the ball move from side to side, to be able to attract the defense and get your teammates an open shot. When I was a little kid, I was somewhat better than some of my teammates, it was much more of a greater reward to see some of the teammates who can’t dribble or can’t score for themselves, to get them an open look…

“I knew that was the way I wanted to play. Been that way all my life.”

LeBron also has more than 30,000 points and more than 9,000 rebounds. His career has been well-rounded.

But it would not have been as legendary if it had not been pass-first.