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Jalen Duren, the first NBA player born after LeBron James’ first game faced the legend himself

The longevity of LeBron James‘ playing career has historical overtones. From October 2003 to November 2022, he has proven himself to be one of the best players in the world.

The kid who rose as a star in high school and took the NBA by storm has become an influential figure both on and off the court. At 37, he is in the final stages of his playing career but he still has a lot to offer the game.

When the Detroit Pistons visited the former Staples Center to play against the Los Angeles Lakers, Jalen Duren became the first active NBA player born after James‘ debut in the league to make his debut. Duren was born on 18 November 2003, while James made his debut with the Cavs on 29 October, 2003.

“It was surreal. You know what I mean,” Duren said of his matchup against the Lakers.

LeBron‘s been in the league longer than I’ve been alive. To be on the court with him in some ways is unbelievable,” he told ESPN.

Who is Jalen Duren?

Duren is a forward for the Pistons and was acquired in a summer trade that involved Kemba Walker, among others. Drafted 13th overall, Duren was labeled a physical beast. He was 2.08 meters tall at 13 and is first and foremost a rim protector and inside force. An old-school center, his ceiling is very high, but he needs to develop to keep evolving. For one, he needs to improve his footwork, which seems to be the weakest element to his game.

The rookie has been gradually improving over the course of his first season. He has improved his scoring average from 3.8 to 6.3 per game and has excelled at offensive rebounding.

All this means he is currently placed 10th in this year’s Rookie of the Year ranking.

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