Seemingly everyone has an opinion on the NBA GOAT debate, especially as Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James continues to dominate now in his 19th season. The Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James argument will continue on and now Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal has made his thoughts known on the subject.
O’Neal is also one of the greatest to ever play the game and has faced off with Jordan and teamed with James, so his opinions on both hold a lot of weight. As LeBron continues to play at a high level, he is inching closer towards taking over Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.
Shaq sees that as well and believes that is exactly what LeBron is shooting for right now. And in an interview with Broderick Turner of the L.A. Times, O’Neal says that if he can break that record, the argument for the GOAT is over:
“I know what he’s doing,” O’Neal said while eating some roast beef. “Championships are great, but he’s trying to pass Kareem up. That’s what he is doing. I know exactly what he’s doing. ‘Cause now if you pass Kareem up, it ain’t no talk about who the best player ever is. Think about that? I saw he needed to average  points or something like that the next few years, which he will do. He can do that in two more years.”
Shaq continued on, making it clear that there is no arguing against LeBron if he gets that record, and even correlating it to his own pursuits with Wilt Chamberlain:
“He’s got four rings and he becomes the highest scorer in the NBA history. He’s the best ever,” O’Neal said. “Ain’t nothing you can say.
“‘Cause if I would have passed Wilt [Chamberlain] in scoring, you know me. I would have been, ‘I’m the most dominant ever.’ I don’t want to hear [Chamberlain’s] name no more.
No matter what James does, there will still be a large contingent of people who back Jordan unquestionably. But sitting atop the scoring chart, especially for someone like James who isn’t known as a scorer, would make it hard to argue against, as Shaq noted. For his part, Kareem himself says that he hopes LeBron breaks his record and will be there when he does.
But these arguments are what make it fun to be an NBA fan and years from now there will be someone else closing in on these LeBron records and making his case as well.
James motivated by championships in 19th season
While Shaq may be focusing on LeBron passing Kareem, James himself made it clear that in his final seasons, his motivation is solely on the ultimate team goal, winning championships.
“Just motivated to have an opportunity to win a championship,” James said. “That’s why I play the game. It’s one of the greatest shortest feelings that you have. You win a championship and everything that you put into that year just hits you all at once and literally like a couple hours later it’s like it’s over. You just see a whole time you’re just trying to figure out how can you get that moment again. Seriously! That’s part of my motivation still. Just always trying to get that feeling.”
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