Long-time Laker center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played 20 seasons in the league from 1969-89, including 14 with the Lakers. He holds the NBA's career scoring record with 38,387 points.
James, 37, currently sits at 37,062 career points as he is set to enter his 20th season in the league, just 1,326 points shy of setting the new mark. After Los Angeles' preseason opener Tuesday, a 105-75 loss to the Sacramento Kings, James was asked about the record and Abdul-Jabbar and was short.
"Nah, no thoughts," he said , according to Yahoo Sports. "And no relationship."
This contrasts with comments James made a week ago at Lakers media day in which he acknowledged differences with Abdul-Jabbar but was more expansive on the significance of the record.
"To sit here and to know that I’m on the verge of breaking probably the most sought-after record in the NBA, something that people say will probably never be done, I think it’s just super like humbling, for myself," LeBron said then, per NBC Sports. "I think it’s super cool.
"And you know, obviously Kareem has had his differences, with some of my views and some of the things that I do. But listen, at the end of the day, to be able to be right in the same breath as a guy to wear the same uniform, a guy that was a staple of this franchise along with Magic and Big Game (James Worthy) over there for so many years, especially in the '80s, and a guy that does a lot off the floor as well. I think it’s just super duper dope for myself to be even in that conversation."
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Assuming health and that James doesn't suffer an unprecedented dip in production from his career mark of 27.1 points per game, it should be a mark he clears fairly easily, with late January being a potential time when the new record would be set.
James has been one of the more outspoken current NBA players on contemporary issues. Abdul-Jabbar has publicly taken exception with some of the things James has done and said, including James' view on the COVID-19 pandemic and the vaccines to combat the virus.
In March 2021, James declined to say whether he had taken the vaccine or if he planned to, citing personal reasons. He also said it wasn't his position to have an opinion on the vaccination of other players in the NBA.
"We’re talking about our bodies," James said then. "We’re not talking about something political, racism or police brutality or things of that nature. We’re talking about people’s bodies and well beings. So I don’t feel like for me personally, I should get involved in what people should do for their bodies and their livelihoods."
Abdul-Jabbar, in response, wrote a post on his Substack saying that "this time LeBron is just plain wrong – and his being wrong could be deadly, especially to the Black community."
In a separate incident, when James posted a meme on Instagram that minimized the COVID-19 pandemic and compared it to a cold or the flu. Again, Abdul-Jabbar posted on his Substack and wrote that James "has encouraged vaccine hesitancy."
Then, in April, when Abdul-Jabbar was on hand at a Laker game to present an award, he offered his opinion about James' position on certain issues.
"Some of the things he's done and said are really beneath him, as far as I can see," Abdul-Jabbar told reporters then. "Some of the great things that he's done, he's standing on both sides of the fence almost, you know? It makes it hard for me to accept that when he's committed himself to a different take on everything. It's hard to figure out where he's standing. You've got to check him out every time."
Abdul-Jabbar later apologized.
The Lakers kick off their 2022-23 season Oct. 18, the first day of the NBA season, in the second leg of a double header, against the Golden State Warriors.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: LeBron James: 'No relationship' with Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar