With LeBron James on the cusp of breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA scoring record, the Lakers star made a bold proclamation about the GOAT conversation.
Barring something catastrophic or unlikely, LeBron James will be the NBA’s all-time leading scorer by the end of the week. With the Los Angeles Lakers facing the Thunder on Tuesday and Bucks on Thursday, both in LA, and James just 36 points shy of the record held by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, it’s a formality that he’ll etch his name atop the record books again.
Naturally, James becoming the career leader in points scored in NBA history is going to fuel the GOAT debate, most often between LeBron and Michael Jordan. But the Lakers star himself tossed a little gasoline on the argument ahead of his next career milestone.
Speaking to Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register, James made it clear where he stands on the debate.
“What I bring to the table as a basketball player … I feel like I’m the best basketball player that ever played the game,” James said. “That’s just my confidence, that’s just what I bring to the table, what I possess. But as far as if the scoring record gets me to another level, I don’t know.”
LeBron James names himself ‘best basketball player’ ever on brink of setting NBA scoring record
Now, let’s first make an important distinction. James called himself the “best basketball player that ever played the game”, not “the greatest”. Greatest, in the NBA lexicon, often encapsulates more than just talent and ability by adding in accomplishments, context and the like.
That, of course, won’t stop anyone from noticing that it sure sounds like LeBron James considers himself the GOAT over Michael Jordan.
Given that James is about to add all-time leading scorer to his list of accomplishments, though, it’s hard to not see why he would stand on that side of the debate. Yes, the “ringz” crowd will be quick to point out that Jordan still won six titles compared to LeBron’s four. That’s true.
However, in addition to his four championships, James is also a four-time NBA Finals MVP, four-time NBA MVP, 13-time First-Team All-NBA selection (a league record), 19-time NBA All-Star, and three-time Olympic gold medalist with Team USA. He’s also the only player in NBA history to record at least 10,000 rebounds and 10,000 assists, which is on top of him set to become the all-time leading scorer.
The aura of Michael Jordan and what he achieved during his career is still hard to argue with and many will still consider him the GOAT no matter what LeBron James does in the twilight of his career. For his part, though, James is certainly making his case stronger by the day, and he’s not afraid to say it either.