As LeBron James pursues one of sports’ most revered achievements – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA all-time career points scored record – ESPN.com is serving fans daily, game by game, keeping them informed and entertained. After James surpassed Karl Malone for second place on the all-time scoring list, the ESPN NBA digital team launched the LeBron James points tracker. Accompanied by inspired artwork from the ESPN Creative Studio team, the tracker has been a “slam dunk” with fans, resulting in increased traffic.
Front Row discussed the ambitious project with ESPN.com NBA deputy editor Alisha Miller, who explained the team’s goals, the uptick in traffic, and how it’ influenced new projects.
Why was the LeBron James points tracker created?
Everyone loves the thrill of following sports stars as they break records, especially long-standing ones like Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time points record. James’ pursuit of surpassing Abdul-Jabbar’s 38,387 points is no different, but this time, ESPN is taking its fans along for the ride. NBA senior editor Adam Reisinger is the creative mind behind pushing for a one-stop shop for fans to follow LeBron’s quest, including game-by-game projections and complete stats. Working closely with ESPN’s Creative Studio, our digital NBA editors update the LeBron tracker following every Lakers game.
How did the visuals drive the storytelling?
While partnering with Adam, Creative Studio’s Associate Art Director Chris Delisle and Senior Designer Michelle Bashaw started off asking some big questions early in the process — how do we get fans to key data points and numbers quickly and keep them engaged for the entirety of the piece? How do we balance daily updates with coding and design? How do we ensure fans keep coming back?
We wanted the energy and impact that LeBron brings to every game to be felt on the site, so we needed a strong opening animation. From the slam dunk to the crowning of “King James,” the artwork had to encapsulate what he has done for the game.
How has it impacted ESPN.com’s NBA traffic?
Fans don’t have to search hard to find the LeBron tracker, as it gets priority promotion on the site following Lakers games and is a mainstay on ESPN.com’s NBA index. Over the past 30 days, we have seen an uptick in traffic to the LeBron tracker, including its ranking among the top 25 in pageviews of all NBA stories.
In what way has this project impacted the Victor Wembanyama tracker?
The LeBron tracker has shown there is a desire for updated content that is of high interest, and the projected No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA draft certainly fits that niche. Taking lessons learned from the LeBron tracker, our NBA digital team created a landing page focused on Victor Wembanyama’s season leading up to the draft. It’s a no-brainer of a content decision that we track the Lakers star, who is in his 20th season in the league, and the most anticipated draft prospect since King James himself.
Chris Delisle, associate art director, ESPN digital media, contributed to this post
James and the Lakers play the Los Angeles Clippers tonight on ESPN (10 p.m. ET)