Kareem Abdul-Jabbar offered a great perspective on LeBron James potentially passing him as the NBA leading scorer
Kareem Abdul-Jabbarsaid he would be excited if LeBron Jamespassed him as the NBA's leading scorer.
- Abdul-Jabbar said he views breaking records as feats of human achievement.
- James trails Abdul-Jabbar by about 3,000 points and likely needs 2 healthy seasons to pass him.
NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won't be bitter if he is no longer the league's all-time leading scorer.
In an interview with NBA reporter Marc Stein, Abdul-Jabbar said he would be "excited" to see James pass him as the NBA's all-time leading scorer. Abdul-Jabbar, who scored 38,387 points in 20 seasons, said he would view James passing him as a "human achievement."
"I'm excited to see it happen," Abdul-Jabbar told Stein. "I don't see records as personal accomplishments, but more as human achievements. If one person can do something that's never been done, that means we all have a shot at doing it. It's a source of hope and inspiration. Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile back in 1954. Since then, not only have 1,400 runners beaten that time, but the new record is 17 seconds less. We all win when a record is broken, and if LeBron breaks mine, I will be right there to cheer him on."
Of course, James passing Abdul-Jabbar is no sure thing. James currently has 35,367 points entering his 19th season. If James stays healthy, he could pass Jabbar in two seasons, but that's no sure thing - James played just 55 games in 2018-19 and 45 of 72 last season. He'll need to be healthy and just as productive as he's been throughout his career.Abdul-Jabbar's message isn't much different from other famous athletes who had their records broken - both Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan congratulated James when he passed them in scoring.
But one gets the sense that there truly wouldn't be any bitterness or competitiveness from Abdul-Jabbar if it happens.
Stein asked Abdul-Jabbar about how he is frequently left out of discussions about the greatest player of all time, and Abdul-Jabbar offered a measured, nuanced response.
"GOAT discussions are fun, like debating who's faster: Superman or the Flash. It's a metaphysical mystery. The question can never be answered because players from the past were trained under different restrictions and played under different rules. Then you have to ask what to give more weight to: Scoring, defense, assists? All of them? But the stats don't always reveal the particular conditions and challenges of each season. Way too many variables. How about we just discuss the O'GOAT (One of the Greatest of All-Time)?"
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