Kevin Porter Jr., not quite 21, set an NBA record that was previously held by LeBron James, but he still must overcome a rash of personal issues

Photo: USA TODAY Sports

By Joel Alderman

He is one year removed from being a teenager, yet Kevin Porter Jr. had 50 points and 11 assists in a single game the night of April 29th, to become the youngest player ever in the NBA to achieve those highs. At the time Porter was 20 years and 360 days.

His 21st birthday is (or was, depending on when this is being read) May 4, 2021.

The person who previously had the record of being the youngest with both most points and assists in one outing was LeBron James in 2008 when he was 23 years of age.

Porter, in only his third season in the league, propelled his team to a 143-136 victory against the Milwaukee Bucks. He also pulled down four rebounds in 42 out of a possible 48 minutes of playing time. The Rockets had to overcome a 17-point deficit, but unfortunately for Porter and the team it was only their 16th win of the season against 47 defeats, still the poorest record in the league.

A potential phenom, but . . .

He became the fourth player in NBA history to have a 50-point game before turning 21, but the others (including LeBron James twice) did not have a high number of assists also.

In his first NBA start, which was with Cleveland in 2019 against the New York Knicks, he recorded a then career-high 18 points in 31 minutes.

Close calls

Porter has had some rocky life experiences so far.

1) During his one year at Southern Cal, he was suspended indefinitely for “personal conduct issues.” He came back for the last three contests, averaged 9.8 points, four rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 22 minutes a game, playing in 21 of USC’s 33 games.

2) He was fined $50,000 this year for violating the league’s health and safety protocols.

3) A month into this season, he had a locker room outburst at Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman when recently acquired Taurean Prince was given his locker.

4) A year after turning pro, Porter was charged by police following a single-car accident for improper handling of a firearm in a vehicle, a felony, and driving without a license, a misdemeanor charge. He was also accused of punching a woman in the face.

His playing career continued

A grand jury in Mahoning County, Ohio, failed to indict him and he was left free to continue his career.

It is a career that just led to his “50 plus 11” to pass King James and hopefully to stay out of trouble.

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