Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said he felt absolutely wonderful that a great sportsman like LeBron James broke his all-time record.
LeBron James, the present of the Los Angeles Lakers and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the past of the iconic team experienced a special moment on Tuesday night. When two distinct generations joined together out of appreciation and respect, it was a really unique moment. Since Kareem first set the NBA all-time scoring mark in 1984, it appeared as though it would never be surpassed. Yet, LeBron has produced a career unlike anything the world has ever seen, and his breaking of that record while wearing a Lakers outfit further highlights how unique this team is, per Yard Barker.
While most people tried to anticipate Abdul-Jabbar's reaction to LeBron breaking his record, he had a completely different perspective on the matter. The Lakers' icon said on his own Substack that he was pleased with LeBron overtaking him. He wrote, "In the months leading up to LeBron breaking my record, so much was written about how I would feel on the day he sank that record-breaking shot that I had to laugh. I’d already written several times stating exactly how I felt so there really wasn’t much to speculate about." He added, "It’s as if I won a billion dollars in a lottery and 39 years later someone won two billion dollars. How would I feel? Grateful that I won and happy that the next person also won. His winning in no way affects my winning."
As he has previously stated, Abdul-Jabbar is glad for James' achievement and has no grudges towards him for breaking his record. The former Lakers center said he is no longer concerned with his basketball legacy and that seeing a record like this broken is exciting to watch for the entire globe. However, there have been some issues with his and LeBron's friendship, and the former laid all the responsibility on himself. He wrote, "LeBron said we don’t have a relationship. He’s right—and for that I blame myself. Not for anything I did, but perhaps for not making more of an effort to reach out to him." He added, "It meant a lot to the whole Laker and NBA family to watch Abdul-Jabbar and James hug in such a historic fashion on such a night."
It takes an incredible amount of time, dedication and perhaps most importantly, sacrifice to achieve a record of this magnitude. LeBron James of the Lakers overtook Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the league's all-time leading scorer and he later reflected on everything he had to give up to get there. Abdul-Jabbar explained he had different priorities in life. "That ain’t me today. I’m 75. The only time I ever think of the record is when someone brings it up. I retired from the NBA 34 years ago. For the past 20 years, I’ve occupied myself with social activism, my writing career, and my family—especially my three grandchildren. If I had a choice of having my scoring record remain intact for another hundred years or spend one afternoon with my grandchildren, I’d be on the floor in seconds stacking Legos and eating Uncrustables," he wrote.
In the final minutes of the Lakers' home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night, when James beat Abdul-Jabbar's previous record of 38,387 points, his piece by Abdul-Jabbar has published mere hours afterward. The record set by Abdul-Jabbar lasted for more than 38 years, but now it is held by LeBron.