LeBron James broke Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 38-year-long record on Tuesday night when he became the NBA’s all-time scoring leader. Abdul-Jabbar was in attendance for the game and even passed the “baton” by handing James the basketball in the on-court celebration.
On Wednesday, the 75-year-old posted his thoughts about James breaking his record on his personal Sub Stack, sharing his excitement and appreciation for James breaking his almost four-decade-long record. He also spent a few paragraphs talking about how he and James don’t have a close relationship, something the current Lakers star has harped on in the past. The Lakers legend admitted he “blames” himself for the lack of a relationship.
“LeBron said we don’t have a relationship. He’s right—and for that I blame myself,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “Not for anything I did, but perhaps for not making more of an effort to reach out to him. By nature I have never been a chummy, reaching-out kind of guy (as the media was always quick to point out). ... For the past 15 years my focus has been less on forming new relationships than on nurturing my old friendships with people like Magic, Michael Cooper, Jerry West, and so on.”
Abdul-Jabbar explained one of the big reasons there isn’t really a relationship between them is because of their age gap, too. As it’s been heavily pointed out, James was born the year that Abdul-Jabbar broke the original scoring record back in 1984.
However, it sounds like Abdul-Jabbar regrets not reaching out to James during pivotal moments of his career thus far.
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“That disconnect is on me,” Abdul-Jabbar continued. “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 mentor in Kobe Bryant and I was just an empty jersey in the rafters. I couldn’t imagine why he’d want to hang with someone twice his age. How many do?”
James will continue to shatter Abdul-Jabbar’s scoring record as he now sits three points above the Lakers legend with 38,390 points after Tuesday night.