Shaquille O’Neal explains why LeBron James won’t be the GOAT even if he passes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Jonathan Sherman
3 Min Read

In the 2022-23 NBA season, Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is projected to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

If James does that, he’ll lay claim to the most points ever scored by a player in the history of the league. Earlier this week, James seemed to make it clear that he thinks very little of the record and Abdul-Jabbar himself.

Apparently, James isn’t alone in that. Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal recently joined the “IMPAULSIVE” podcast and discussed, among other things, his belief that James eventually passing Abdul-Jabbar on the list will not impact his status on the list of greatest of all time.

“I think the greatest player is Michael Jordan,” O’Neal began. “LeBron’s about to do something that hasn’t been done in a long time, and I think he will move his name up there. But for me, it’s always Dr. J (Julius Erving), Michael Jordan, Magic [Johnson] and those guys.”

At this point, it is quite likely that the only thing James can do to convince those who still think he is not the G.O.A.T. is win two or three more titles.

In fact, it is possible that not even that would convert the most strident Jordan supporters.

In the end, the G.O.A.T. list really is a matter of opinion. Jordan, James, Erving, Abdul-Jabbar and O’Neal himself have all done incredible things on the basketball court, and all have been etched in the history books for their many accomplishments.

If James finally does set the new points record, it would not only be an accomplishment for him, but also an accomplishment for the entire league. Records are meant to be broken, and history books are meant to be rewritten. It would truly be a monumental moment for James to do just that if the time comes.

When the Lakers tip off the 2022-23 season later this month, James will need 1,326 points to eclipse Abdul-Jabbar. At his career average of 27.1 points per game, James would need just 49 games to break the record.

Only time will tell how James reacts if and when he does end up surpassing Abdul-Jabbar on the list.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Lakers Daily.