With a new season and a new signature shoe on the horizon, Los Angeles Lakers All-Star LeBron James is hoping to return to the NBA playoffs in 2023. The four-time MVP and four-time champ also may be further cementing his place among the game's all-time greats in another way this season.
James spoke with reporters at length during L.A.'s Media Day session at the team's El Segundo practice facility Monday. James reaffirmed his confidence in the team moving forward, despite the club's disappointing 33-49 run in 2021-22.
“I came here [in 2018] because I believe in the franchise. And I’m still here,” James remarked. “And it’s literally that simple. I’m committed to the franchise for as long as my contract is.”
He signed a two-year, $97.1 million extension in the summer that could keep him in the purple and gold until 2025, although he has a player option for his age-40 season. The 18-time All-Star does have his sites set on breaking an all-time Lakers legend's all-time NBA record this year.
Should he stay healthy-ish this season, King James stands an excellent chance of breaking six-time MVP Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's current cumulative league regular season scoring record of 38,387 points. James currently trails him by 1,326 points. Even assuming he misses 10 or more games, James should still surpass Abdul-Jabbar's record tally at some point this year. Last season, even though the 6'9" small forward missed 26 games, he still managed to pour in 1,695 total points.
Abdul-Jabbar played for 20 NBA seasons, 15 with the Lakers, and retired after 1989-90, aged 41. James, 37, is just kicking off his 20th season this year, and doesn't seem like he intends to retire for at least the next few years.
Here's an NBA Today clip (via ESPN) of LBJ's Media Day comments regarding his pursuit of the regular season scoring record:
Here's the key pull quote from James about the opportunity:
"The only time I've kind of thought about it is when someone's been posting on social [media]," James commented. "Every single time I'm in awe of it... To sit here and to know that I'm on the verge of breaking probably the most sought-after record in the NBA, [one of the] things that people said would probably be done, I think it's just super humbling for myself. I think it's just super cool. Obviously Kareem has had his differences with some of my views and some of the things that I do, but at the end of the day, to be able to be [mentioned] in the same breath as a guy that wore this same uniform... I think is just super-duper dope."
Abdul-Jabbar did criticize James this past spring, but he later tempered his remarks and attempted to reiterate his appreciation for what his fellow Lakers champ has achieved on and off the hardwood.
It's worth noting that the Chosen One does already possess the all-time record in NBA points scored, incorporating both the , above Cap, who has been bumped to second place. In 1,632 games, James has scored 44,693 career points. Abdul-Jabbar scored 44,149 points across 1,797 total contests.