LeBron James’ longevity and ability to play at a high level despite the workload he’s shouldered during his NBA career are exceedingly rare. The list of guys who have done something similar includes names like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone, both of whom are ahead of James on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. James is 1,561 career points behind Malone for second place and 3,020 behind Abdul-Jabbar for first, and if he keeps up his current pace, he should be able to take the No. 1 spot sometime in the next few years.
In an interview with Marc Stein, Abdul-Jabbar made clear that he’s not just at peace with his record potentially going down, he is rooting for James to potentially take his spot as the most prolific scorer in NBA history.
“I’m excited to see it happen,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “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.”
Should James play every game over the next two seasons, he’d need to average about 18.6 points per game to take the record by the end of the 2022-23 campaign. It stands to reason he will not hit all 162 games in that span of time, but the good news for him is that he’s a prolific enough scorer that it’s still in his grasp even if he does that. But no matter when he’ll achieve this, he can take some solace in knowing that he’ll have the current record holder in his corner cheering for him the whole time.