Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is now the second leading scorer in NBA history. LeBron James eclipsed his 38,387 points Tuesday night with a fadeaway jumper against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Hall of Fame center was on hand at the Los Angeles Lakers game to show his support. He stood next to James in a brief ceremony after scoring the record kick and gave him a hug.
On Wednesday, Abdul-Jabbar posted an essay further congratulating the current Lakers star, explaining the hype leading up to the moment and explaining why he and James never had a solid relationship.
“Any time a sports record is broken – including mine – it’s a moment of celebration,” he said. “It means someone has pushed the limits of what we thought was possible to a whole new level. And when one person climbs higher than the last person, we all feel like we’re capable of being more. .”
Abdul-Jabbar said he “must have laughed” at speculation surrounding how he felt about his case being passed.
Before James won the scoring title, he was asked about his relationship with Abdul-Jabbar, which he said was non-existent. Laker great comrade Magic Johnson also suggested there could be tension between the old and new guard.
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The six-time NBA champion said he was hurt by the comments and wanted people to understand he only had a desire to celebrate James’ accomplishment.
“It’s like I won a billion dollars in a lottery and 39 years later someone wins two billion dollars,” he said. “How would I feel? I’m grateful to have won and happy that the next person has also won. Their victory does not affect my victory in any way.”
Abdul-Jabbar went on to say that it had been 34 years since he retired from the league and he was now focusing more on his social justice efforts – the NBA named its Social Justice Award in his honor in 2021 – and his family. He takes full responsibility for not developing a relationship with James.
“By nature, I’ve never been a buddy, reaching out type (as the media has always been quick to point out). I’m quiet, shy and such a dedicated homebody you’d think I’m in pain. agoraphobia. I like to read, watch TV, listen to jazz, that’s about all. …
“That disconnect is on me. I knew the pressures he was under and maybe I could have helped ease them a bit. But I saw that LeBron had a friend and a mentor in Kobe Bryant and I don’t was just an empty jersey in the rafters. I couldn’t imagine why he would want to hang out with someone twice his age. How many do?”
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Despite the lack of connection, Abdul-Jabbar said his appreciation for James had grown over the years as he excelled on the pitch and cared about social justice issues outside of it.
“LeBron is making me love the game again,” he said. “And it makes me proud to be part of an ever-growing group of athletes who actively care about their community.”