Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Blames Himself for LeBron James Estrangement

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, LeBron James.
Ringo Chiu/SOPA Photos/Shutterstock

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has nothing however reward for LeBron James — however the retired NBA legend blames himself for not having a relationship with the L.A. Lakers star.

In a Substack letter addressing James’ history-making play — he broke Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time scoring file on Tuesday, February 7 — the six-time MVP admitted that the 2 “don’t have a relationship.”

“And for that I blame myself,” Abdul-Jabbar, 75, continued within the Wednesday, February 8, essay. “Not for something I did, however maybe for not making extra of an effort to achieve out to him. By nature I’ve by no means been a chummy, reaching-out sort of man,” he defined, including that he’s “quiet, shy, and am such a faithful homebody that you just’d assume I’ve agoraphobia.”

Abdul-Jabbar — who scored 38,387 factors all through his profession within the NBA — acknowledged that the “essential purpose” he “by no means shaped a bond with LeBron (once more, fully my fault) is just our age distinction.”

Emphasizing their age hole, the previous Milwaukee Bucks star famous, “I established my scoring file in 1984 — the yr LeBron was born. When he began to make a reputation for himself, I used to be already fairly faraway from the NBA world.”

Nonetheless, Abdul-Jabbar acknowledged, “That disconnect is on me. I knew the pressures he was below and possibly I might have helped ease them a bit. However I noticed that LeBron had a buddy and mentor in Kobe Bryant and I used to be simply an empty jersey within the rafters. I couldn’t think about why he’d need to cling with somebody twice his age. What number of do?”

Although he and James, 38, could not have been shut, Abdul-Jabbar was fast to offer credit score the place credit score was due, championing his successor for all of his accomplishments and mentioning their similarities.

“It takes unbelievable drive, dedication, and expertise to outlive within the NBA lengthy sufficient to rack up that variety of factors when the common NBA profession lasts solely 4.5 years,” the 19-time NBA All-Star wrote within the e-newsletter. “It’s not nearly placing the ball by way of the ring, it’s about staying wholesome and expert sufficient to climb the steep mountain in ever-thinning oxygen over a few years when most different gamers have tapped out.” (Each Abdul-Jabbar and James performed within the NBA for 20 seasons.)

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Admits to a Strained Relationship with LeBron James -604 LeBron James becomes NBA all-time leading scorer in Los Angeles, US - 07 Feb 2023

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, LeBron James.
Ringo Chiu/SOPA Photos/Shutterstock

He additional famous that the teammate mentality — “a file is nothing if you happen to used different gamers’ careers as stepping stones only for self-aggrandizement,” Abdul-Jabbar penned — is essential to turning into a legendary basketball star. “For me, I strove to play on the highest stage I might to be able to be an excellent teammate. The factors — and the file—have been merely a by-product of that philosophy. I believe LeBron has the identical philosophy.”

Finally, the New York native, who performed heart for the L.A. Lakers from 1975 to 1989, is comfortable that James succeeded his file.

“It’s as if I gained a billion {dollars} in a lottery and 39 years later somebody gained two billion {dollars}. How would I really feel?” Abdul-Jabbar requested rhetorically. “Grateful that I gained and comfortable that the subsequent individual additionally gained. His profitable on no account impacts my profitable.”

King James broke Abdul-Jabbar’s file throughout Tuesday’s sport towards the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder, reaching an all-time rating of 38,387 factors all through his profession, which started in 2003.

Although Abdul-Jabbar acknowledged that the 2 didn’t have an in depth friendship, that didn’t cease him from embracing the Ohio native on the court docket on Tuesday. The NBA stopped the sport for the ceremonious event, which additionally featured the retired athlete passing on a basketball to James. Along with his hug with Abdul-Jabbar, the ability ahead additionally shared the proud second along with his spouse, Savannah James, and their three kids: Bronny, 18, Bryce, 15, and daughter Zhuri, 8. LeBron’s mother, Gloria James, additionally posed for footage with the household.