Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times indicated in a new interview that the Los Angeles Lakers would like to see a Kobe Bryant finale-type event when LeBron James breaks the NBA’s all-time scoring record next season.
Plaschke appeared on “The Doug Gottlieb Show” and indicated that when James inevitably breaks Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s scoring record, the Lakers will pull out all the stops to make the veteran superstar happy.
“They’re hoping for a Kobe-like retirement game when LeBron breaks Kareem’s record next year,” Plaschke said. “They’re hoping that LeBron can carry his star power for two more years. They want to make LeBron happy, and they’re gonna do whatever it takes to make him happy.”
Bryant concluded his legendary 20 seasons in a Lakers uniform on April 13, 2016 and delivered an iconic performance by scoring 60 points against the Utah Jazz.
Since the Lakers had long been out of playoff contention at the time of that game, the team was well aware of exactly when Bryant would be concluding his NBA career.
In James’ case, the Lakers don’t have the opportunity to pinpoint exactly when he’ll take his place atop the all-time NBA scoring list. He’ll be entering the 2022-23 campaign with 37,062 points, putting him 1,325 points behind Abdul-Jabbar.
Based on James’ career-scoring average of 27.1 points per game, he could break the scoring record at some point around the 2023 All-Star break (approximately 49 games).
Of course, there’s no guarantee that James will maintain that level of scoring. Also, an injury during the course of the season might possibly push the date of his record-breaking performance into March or later.
Still, it’s clear that the Lakers want to make sure that James feels properly recognized for what would be an incredible achievement on his part. That’s especially true, given his comments earlier this year that he’d like to end his career with whatever team drafts his older son, Bronny.
For now, the elder James and the Lakers are focused on wiping away the bad taste left by a season in which they failed to reach the postseason.