LeBron James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have lots in widespread past being the NBA’s prime two all-time main scorers.
They had been highschool phenoms. They exceeded large expectations, capturing a number of NBA MVP awards and championships. They managed to function outdoors of the standard getting old curve. They’ve been outspoken on social points.
And, after all, they donned the purple and gold uniform, including to the unbelievable historical past of the Lakers.
Whereas they share these similarities, James and Abdul-Jabbar do not have a lot of a relationship. In actual fact, James as soon as mentioned there may be “no relationship” in any respect.
Why have they did not make a robust connection? As James closes in on Abdul-Jabbar’s scoring report, let’s have a look again at what these basketball legends have mentioned about one another lately.
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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar criticizes LeBron James for COVID-19 stance
In September 2021, James admitted that he was “skeptical” in regards to the COVID-19 vaccine earlier than selecting to be vaccinated, and he declared that he did not need to be a vaccine advocate. Then, in December 2021, James shared a meme on Instagram that in contrast COVID-19 to the flu and customary chilly.
Abdul-Jabbar criticized James in each situations, writing on his Substack web page that James was “simply plain unsuitable” and describing his Instagram publish as a “blow to his worthy legacy.”
“Whereas LeBron is a vital and dynamic voice important of police brutality in opposition to the Black group, he must be the identical vital and dynamic advocate with vaccines, which might save hundreds of Black lives proper now,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote.
James later defined why he posted the meme, however he declined to straight deal with Abdul-Jabbar.
“It is flu season, so individuals have forgotten in regards to the flu. Individuals have forgotten about widespread colds,” James mentioned. “That occurs, particularly with loads of our youngsters in class. My daughter is in first grade, so loads of these children are getting, like, widespread colds and getting the flu.
“However no, I haven’t got any response to Kareem — in any respect.”
“I don’t have any response to Kareem. In any respect.”
– LeBron James addresses Kareem’s critique of his vaccine “hesitancy” pic.twitter.com/12CCEgxyaj
— ProCity Hoops (@ProCityHoops) December 29, 2021
Along with his feedback on the COVID-19 vaccine, Abdul-Jabbar known as out James for celebrating a clutch shot with a “silly, infantile dance.”
“It would not make sense,” Abdul-Jabbar mentioned. “GOATs do not dance.”
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar criticizes LeBron James once more, then apologizes
Abdul-Jabbar lobbed extra criticism at James in April, telling reporters earlier than a sport between the Lakers and Nuggets that “among the issues he is completed and mentioned are actually beneath him.”
“Among the nice issues that he is completed, he is standing on each side of the fence nearly, you understand? It makes it exhausting for me to just accept that when he is dedicated himself to a distinct tackle every little thing,” Abdul-Jabbar mentioned. “It is exhausting to determine the place he is standing. You have to examine him out each time.”
Whereas Abdul-Jabbar did credit score James for his charitable efforts and the creation of the I Promise College in Akron, Ohio, he believed that James must be “embarrassed” about a few of his actions.
Abdul-Jabbar later expressed remorse about his “off-handed response” and declared that he would at all times have a “deep admiration and respect” for James.
“Every so often, I’ve chided LeBron after I thought he was dropping the ball when it got here to supporting the group,” Abdul-Jabbar mentioned in an announcement. “However I did so within the spirit of a loving older brother providing steerage, whether or not needed or not.
“So, after I mentioned that he has completed some issues he must be embarrassed about, that wasn’t a slam or a barb or perhaps a finger wag, it was me recapping a few of what I might mentioned prior to now. … However I imagine LeBron is powerful sufficient and gracious sufficient to grasp that I’ve solely love for him in my coronary heart.”
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with a follow-up assertion on his LeBron James criticisms pic.twitter.com/lO34a2rkWL
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) April 4, 2022
LeBron James discusses Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s scoring report at Media Day
Throughout his 2022 Media Day availability in September, James mentioned his pursuit of the NBA’s all-time scoring report, noting that Abdul-Jabbar did not agree with him on sure points.
“To take a seat right here and to know that I am on the verge of breaking in all probability probably the most sought-after report within the NBA, issues that individuals mentioned would in all probability by no means be completed, I feel it is simply tremendous, like, humbling for myself. I feel it is tremendous cool,” James mentioned. “Clearly Kareem has had his variations with a few of my views and among the issues that I do.
“However hear, on the finish of the day, to have the ability to be in the identical breath as a man that wore this similar uniform, a man that was a staple of this franchise, together with Magic [Johnson] and ‘Large Sport’ [James Worthy] over there for therefore a few years, particularly within the [1980s], and a man that does lots off the ground as properly, I feel is simply super-duper dope for myself to be even in that dialog.”
LeBron talks about doubtlessly passing Kareem because the NBA all-time main scorer this season.#NBAMediaDay pic.twitter.com/IyyGpQsR1f
— NBA (@NBA) September 26, 2022
LeBron James says he has ‘no relationship’ with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
After an October preseason sport, a reporter requested James if he had any ideas about Abdul-Jabbar or his relationship with the one man forward of him on the all-time scoring listing.
“No ideas — and no relationship,” James mentioned.
“No ideas. And no relationship”
LeBron on chasing Kareem’s scoring report and if they’ve a relationship pic.twitter.com/yls2c1DJgF
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 4, 2022
Magic Johnson says Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will not be comfortable when LeBron James passes him
Throughout an October look on the “Membership Shay Shay” podcast, Johnson, who performed alongside Abdul-Jabbar for a decade, informed Shannon Sharpe that his former teammate in all probability will not be thrilled when James turns into the highest scorer in NBA historical past.
“I do not assume [he’ll handle it] properly,” Johnson mentioned. “Let’s simply be trustworthy. If I acquired to say it, we acquired to be trustworthy. And the truth that it is a dude taking part in for the Lakers, too. It is a dude taking part in in [Los Angeles].
“I feel it’s going to be a tough tablet to swallow. … I feel he thought he was going to have [the record] perpetually.”
[email protected] reacts to LeBron James being on the verge of passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar because the All-Time Main Scorer:
“If I acquired to be trustworthy, Kareem isn’t going to deal with it properly…And it’s a dude that’s taking part in for the Lakers.” pic.twitter.com/o0xzAjGdYw
— Membership Shay Shay (@ClubShayShay) October 24, 2022
Nevertheless, it is price stating that Abdul-Jabbar has persistently been supportive of James when requested in regards to the report, even saying he can be “proper there to cheer [James] on” when he passes him.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sends birthday message to LeBron James
Abdul-Jabbar shouted out James on Twitter when he turned 38 years outdated in late December. Abdul-Jabbar additionally referenced his profession level complete of 38,387.
Joyful birthday, LeBron. 38 is the brand new 38,388.
— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (@kaj33) December 31, 2022
LeBron James on his relationship with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
In a January interview with ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, James coated a number of subjects, together with his relationship with Abdul-Jabbar. He did not provide a lot element, although, largely repeating what McMenamin had mentioned to him.
“I feel within the sense of simply the correlation of, such as you mentioned, being highschool phenoms, to doing the issues that we did off the ground for the betterment of our individuals, to carrying a Lakers jersey and making an attempt to hold on that legacy that Dr. [Jerry] Buss and so many nice individuals set out for,” James mentioned.
“After which being part of this dialog with the scoring report. That is the connection. That is the dialog. We are going to type of at all times be linked.”
Kareem readily available to witness historical past
Regardless of their variations, Abdul-Jabbar was positive to be in attendance at Crypto.com Area as LeBron edged nearer to eclipsing his all-time report within the Lakers’ matchup in opposition to the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the home for Lakers-Thunder.
LeBron James is 36 factors away from passing Kareem.
(by way of @MirjamSwanson)pic.twitter.com/RbtEn0gFOg
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) February 8, 2023