The latest accomplishment tacked onto Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James’ ever-growing list of feats is perhaps also his most overlooked.
James passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the NBA all-time scoring list in a loss against the Golden State Warriors on Feb. 12 to earn the most points throughout the regular season and postseason combined.
His achievement was not only overshadowed by a disappointing 117-115 loss that night, but by a below .500 Lakers team and a season filled with tense reports and rumors.
In the Season 5 premiere of “The Shop: Uninterrupted,” which featured guests Quinta Brunson, Lamar Jackson, Donald Glover, J Balvin, Paul Rivera and Maverick Carter, James spoke about his recent milestone:
“The crazy thing is I’m not a natural scorer. I love getting my guys involved,” James said. “I’ve always been that way. I’ve always liked the point of seeing my teammate succeed off my pass.”
It’s true James has always been known for maximizing his teammate’s talents by getting them more involved. His court vision and elite passing put him seventh on the all-time assists list at 9,977.
Making role players look like All-Stars while he willed his way through the playoffs is something James has become known for. Scoring, however, isn’t. Despite his accomplishment, James said his name is often missing from those conversations and he isn’t happy about it:
“To sit at the top of the food chain in the most points scored in the history of the game, it’s weird to me,” James said. “They don’t ever call me when they talk about the best scorers of all time, they never mention my name … Yeah it pisses me off. They don’t ever bring my name into it.”
James told his guests — all of whom share his competitive spirit in their respective industries — that the hate he gets only fuels him.
It’s common for accomplishments to get overlooked and undervalued in the NBA, especially if a team is not performing well at the time. James’ scoring title comes with yet another caveat: many players, fans and stats boards don’t include postseason points in the all-time scoring list. If you remove playoff points, James is still third on the all-time scoring board, behind Abdul-Jabbar in first and Karl Malone in second.
While it’s unlikely that James’ main focus will be on trying to catch Abdul-Jabbar on the regular-season scoring list, the Lakers can certainly use any push they can get.
James follows up comments with 56-point performance
After making those comments on his show, James showed how pissed off he was by dropping 56 points against the Warriors, this time in a win.
After the game, he further elaborated on why he doesn’t think people view him as a scorer.
“Because it’s never been the No. 1 option for me,” James said. “I came into this league understanding what team basketball is all about and the importance of the pass, the importance of your teammates being comfortable on the floor, everybody trying to be in a rhythm. I was just brought up that way, my little league coaches just always taught us the right way to play the game of basketball. The word ball hog was something that we despised and never let creep into none of our ballclubs. It was just something that we never wanted to do and I guess it just stuck with me. I’ve always love success for my teammates, scoring off a pass of mine or even a hockey assist where we can get the ball moving from side to side.
“But I also knew I wanted to be a triple threat as well, to be able to score at all levels of the game, to keep defenses at bay so they can’t just expect for me to pass all the time. If you can do both, it really keeps the defense, they don’t quite know what to do at times and tonight was one of those moments where I just had it going.”
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