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On This Day (Dec. 18)
Notable events from NBA history that occurred on December 18.
Lakers Retire Kobe’s Numbers
On this day in 2017, the Los Angeles Lakers’ retired the numbers 8 and 24 in honor of Kobe Bryant. Bryant is the only player to have two different numbers retired by the same NBA franchise.
Bryant’s statistics wearing the number 8 (1996-97 through 2005-06):
Bryant’s statistics wearing the number 24 (2006-07 through 2015-16):
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Big Game for Big O
On this day in 1964, the Cincinnati Royals' Oscar Robertson scored a career-high 56 points and dished out 12 assists in a 111-107 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. Robertson became the first player in NBA history to record a 55-point, 10-assist game. He’s now one of only six players in NBA history to accomplish the feat (a total of eight instances):
James Harden (3 times)
Robertson shot 22-23 from the free throw line in this game. It’s one of 330 games in which Robertson made at least 10 free throws, the most such games in NBA history:
330 — Oscar Robertson
310 — Karl Malone
288 — Moses Malone
281 — James Harden
On this day in 1984, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Magic Johnson had 25 points, 20 assists, and 14 rebounds in a 117-116 win over the Atlanta Hawks. Johnson is one of only eight players in NBA history to record at least 20 points, 20 assists, and 10 rebounds in a game, and one of only three players to do so multiple times:
Russell Westbrook (5 times)
Oscar Robertson (3 times)
Magic Johnson (3 times)
This was one of 13 career 20-point, 20-assist games for Johnson, the most such games in NBA history:
13 — Magic Johnson
9 — John Stockton
8 — Oscar Robertson
7 — Russell Westbrook
6 — Kevin Johnson
Smith’s Block Party
On this day in 2004, Atlanta Hawks rookie Josh Smith blocked 10 shots in a loss to the Dallas Mavericks. He became the youngest player to record a 10-block game since the NBA began tracking blocks in 1973-74 (age in years-days):
19-013 — Josh Smith (Dec. 18, 2004)
21-053 — Shawn Kemp (Jan. 18, 1991)
21-083 — Amar’e Stoudemire (Feb. 7, 2004)
21-259 — Shaquille O’Neal (Nov. 20, 1993)
22-136 — Serge Ibaka (Feb. 1, 2012)
As you can see, Smith is the only player to record such a game before his 21st birthday.
On this day in 2021, the Detroit Pistons’ Cade Cunningham and Killian Hayes dished out 11 and 10 assists, respectively, in a loss to the Houston Rockets. They became the first (and thus far only) teammates in NBA history age 20 years or younger to each record at least 10 assists in the same game.
Cunningham went on to lead all rookies in assists that season with 356, while Hayes finished fifth among second-year players with 277 assists. It’s the only time in NBA history a team has had two players age 20 years or younger each record at least 250 assists in the same season.