Alexander: Can LeBron catch Kareem? It now looks inevitable

The world according to Jim:

• Father Time might indeed remain undefeated, but LeBron James is certainly putting up a fight. And suddenly what once seemed like an unbreakable record might not be.

Going into Saturday’s game in Denver, James – who turned 37 two days before New Year’s Day – has 36,239 career points in 1,340 games over 18½ NBA seasons. He’s put himself into the MVP picture because of all he’s had to do for a struggling team this season: 36.9 minutes per game and a 29.1 scoring average overall and 34.2 over the last 12 games, much of that while playing center in the Lakers’ newly configured small-ball lineup. …

• It is, of course, a venerable Lakers center whom LeBron is chasing on the NBA’s career scoring list: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and his 38,387 points over 20 NBA seasons, the last at age 41. (Keep in mind that Kareem played four collegiate seasons at UCLA, as Lew Alcindor. LeBron played no collegiate seasons, as one of the last prominent players jumping to the league directly out of high school.) …

• The assumption all along was that Kareem’s record was out of reach. But at his current rate, LeBron could pass Kareem sometime next season. That, of course, assumes a lot – and those 12 missed games earlier this season are reminders of Father Time’s influence – but as much time and attention as LeBron pays to his physical condition, it’s not as impossible as it once seemed. …

• Kareem’s reaction? “If he can keep up his consistency I’ll gladly be there to congratulate him if and when he breaks the scoring record,” he tweeted earlier this week. And in September he told NBA scribe Marc Stein (in a summit between Substack creators) that everyone wins when a record is broken: “I’m excited to see it happen. I don’t see records as personal accomplishments, but more as human achievements. If one person can do something that’s never been done, that means we all have a shot at doing it. It’s a source of hope and inspiration.” …

  Horoscope for Monday, Jan. 17, 2022

If he can keep up his consistency I’ll gladly be there to congratulate him if and when he breaks the scoring record.

— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (@kaj33) January 11, 2022

• The top of the all-time scoring list has purple and gold splashed all over it. Karl Malone is No. 2 at 36,928 – the last 554 of which he scored as a Laker in 2003-04, after 18 seasons in Utah – and is 689 points ahead of LeBron. Kobe Bryant is No. 4, 33,643. Then comes Michael Jordan at 32,292. And two others with Laker ties are in the top 10; Wilt Chamberlain (31,419) at No. 7 and Shaquille O’Neal (28,596) at No. 8. …

• Sudden thought: Since LeBron is playing center these days, might he be working on a skyhook? …

• Proposition bet of the week, according to the folks at BetOnline: Which number will be higher, the Lakers’ point total …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

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