When LeBron James broke the NBA all-time scoring record on Tuesday, the referees officially stopped the game so that the accomplishment could be celebrated properly. LeBron’s family, including his mother and two sons, rushed onto the court and embraced him. NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who previously held the scoring record for nearly 40 years, actually handed the record-breaking basketball to James in ceremonious fashion, a passing of the torch. He even dropped the F-bomb on national television.
Yet still, after all of this, LeBron tried to be humble.
Shaquille O’Neal, 8th himself on the NBA all-time scoring list, wasn’t having it. As part of the NBA on TNT post-game interview, Shaq asked Lebron, “Does this now make you the greatest player of all time? Are you now the GOAT?”
LeBron laughed, and replied humbly, “I’m going to let everybody else decide who that is or just talk about it, it’s great barbershop talk.”
For any other NBA interviewer save Charles Barkley, that answer might’ve been good enough. But Shaq, in typical cheeky, stubborn Shaq fashion persisted. The LeBron James GOAT debate had to be taken into further consideration especially with its latest accolade, namely LeBron securing the NBA all-time scoring crown added to the mix.
“I want to hear you say it! Say it with your chest! Say it Bron Bron!” Shaq urged.
James finally relented, giving his surprisingly immodest take on the LeBron James GOAT argument. Sort of.
“Listen big fella, for me personally, I’m going to take myself against anybody that’s ever played this game,” James said. “But everyone’s gonna have their favorite … I know what I’ve brought to the table, what I bring to the table every single night and what I can do out on this floor.
“I always feel like I’m the best to ever play this game. But there are so many other great ones and I’m happy to just be a part of their journey.”
Previous NBA all-time scoring leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar also had high praise for LeBron’s feat, adding further credence to the LeBron James GOAT debate.
“LeBron’s career is one of someone who planned to dominate this game. When he got out of high school, he had the size and the talent to step right into the NBA and he immediately started to have his effect. It’s gone on for almost 20 years now.
“You’ve got to give him credit for the way he planned to last and to dominate. He led teams to three world championships. They didn’t get there because of someone else and LeBron tagged along – LeBron led them. He has the indefinable essence they call leadership.”
Jabbar also praised LeBron’s achievements off the court, including his strong sense of devotion to his family. Jabbar mentioned how LeBron sent both of his kids to school and took care of his mother and it was that integrity when it came to family that impressed Jabbar as much as his dominance on the court.
“What LeBron has done off the court is more important than what he’s done on the court,” Jabbar said. “He sent kids to school. He’s provided leadership and an example of how to live. I was very impressed with his family – his mom, I met her a couple of years ago when they were having playoff games in Cleveland. LeBron came out and introduced me to his mom. He really has the right values: family and hard work, and all those things lead to success.”
What are your thoughts on the LeBron James GOAT debate? Do you think LeBron deserves to be called the greatest player of all time after adding the NBA all-time scoring leader crown to his list of accomplishments? Let us know what you think in the comments.