LeBron: 'Super humbling' to be close to breaking Kareem's scoring record
LeBron James is staying even-keeled as he looks ahead at likely surpassing Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar atop the NBA's all-time scoring leaderboard this coming season.
"To sit here and to know that I'm on the verge of breaking probably the most sought-after record in the NBA, things that people say would never be done, I think it's just super humbling for myself," the Los Angeles Lakers star told reporters Monday. "I think it's super cool."
James, who's tallied 37,062 regular-season points throughout his career, is now just 1,326 away from overtaking Abdul-Jabbar's 38,387.
While the four-time MVP has scored fewer than the 1,326 needed over a season only once - he registered just 1,126 points in the 72-game 2020-21 campaign, a year in which he missed substantial time due to an ankle sprain - passing Abdul-Jabbar isn't a mathematical guarantee.
If James plays in all 82 games in his 20th NBA season, he would have to maintain a 16.2 point-per-game average. However, the 37-year-old hasn't appeared in all 82 games in a campaign since 2017-18. Since then, his most games played were in the COVID-19-shortened 2019-20 season when he featured in 67 contests before leading the Lakers to the NBA championship.
If the 18-time All-Star plays in 67 games in 2022-23, he would have to average 19.8 points to claim the record, a rate he has still eclipsed every year.
James acknowledged criticism Abdul-Jabbar levied toward him in April regarding some of his actions on and off the court - comments that Abdul-Jabbar later said were blown out of proportion. The Ohio native, however, still reveres the 75-year-old icon and considers it an honor to be in the same conversation.
"Obviously, Kareem has had his differences with some of my views and some of the things that I do," he said. "But listen, at the end of the day, to be able to be in the same breath as a guy that wore this same uniform, a guy that is a staple of this franchise ... for so many years, especially in the eighties, and a guy that does a lot off the floor is so super super dope."