Barring injury Lebron James will surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the scoring king of the National Basketball Association or NBA. Not bad for a player whose first instinct is always to pass to a team-mate with a better scoring opportunity.
Many felt that Kareem’s record would never be surpassed but now another legend in Lakers colours sits ready to take the mantle as the league’s all-time best scorer.
By every reasonable metric, and assuming good health, LeBron James will become the new king, so to speak, right around mid-January. From Kareem to LeBron, nearly 40 years in the making. It’s a peculiar handoff if only because it links two different eras and men who, based purely on optics, share only the same ball and uniform.
Kareem was raised on Civil Rights and Vietnam, schooled at UCLA, soothed by John Coltrane and groomed in a big man’s NBA.
LeBron is magnified by cable TV and dissected by social media, name-dropped by Drake and willingly lathers up the global attention, though on his terms. His rare basketball skillset managed to not only adapt to any and all stylistic trends in the game but overwhelm them.
LeBron is in his 20th season and perhaps the most productive player in history as he approaches 38. He was All-NBA First Team at 36. He averaged 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game last season at 37.
While his court awareness and skills remain at an MVP level, he has been bedevilled lately by two annoying issues – decaying defense and nagging injuries. LeBron has played what qualifies as a full season only once in his four seasons with the Lakers.