LeBron James broke the NBA’s all-time scoring record Tuesday, surpassing Los Angeles Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for first on the prestigious list.
Abdul-Jabbar, who has owned the record since the 1984 season, was in attendance at the Crypto.com arena, passing the torch to the four-time NBA champion.
Much has been made of how Abdul-Jabbar would react to his record being broken, with a former teammate and NBA legend predicting a poor response in October.
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“I don’t think well,” Earvin “Magic” Johnson told Shannon Sharpe on the “Club Shay Shay” podcast when asked how Abdul-Jabbar will handle being passed.
“And the fact that it’s a dude playing for the Lakers too,” Johnson continued. “It’s a dude playing in LA. I think it will be a hard pill to swallow.”
On Wednesday, Abdul-Jabbar addressed his record being broken as well as Johnson’s belief that he would be upset by being passed on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
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“I love Earvin and, after forty years of friendship, he knows me pretty well. If he publicly announced that I had suddenly shrunk to 5’2″, even I would be tempted to believe him,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote on his Substack.
“But, in this case, he was very, very wrong. I don’t blame him for thinking that I might be bothered because he knows how competitive I used to be. And, if someone had broken my record within ten years of me setting it, he would probably be right. I might have hobbled out of retirement just to add a few more points on my record.”
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Abdul-Jabbar explained that 34 years after his retirement from basketball, the record is not something he dwells on.
“Sorry, Earvin. I love you, brother, but this time you got it wrong,” Abdul-Jabbar continued. “I’m not the grumpy grandpa on the porch yelling at kids to stay off my lawn. I fret much more over picking the right word in this sentence than in my record being broken.”
James needed 36 points against the Oklahoma City Thunder in order to surpass Abdul-Jabbar, ending his night with 38 points in a 133-130 loss to OKC.