The NBA Hall of Famer shared his reaction to witnessing James break his career record of 38,387 points on Tuesday night in an article published on Substack Wednesday.
Abdul-Jabbar praised James for his accomplishment but noted that the two hadn’t had a particularly close relationship. He referenced a video of James telling reporters in October that he and Abdul-Jabbar had “no relationship.”
“Ouch,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote, later taking responsibility for their lack of bond.
“LeBron said we don’t have a relationship,” he wrote. “He’s right — and for that, I blame myself. Not for anything I did, but perhaps for not making more of an effort to reach out to him.”
The former Los Angeles Lakers star explained that he is a quiet, shy and “devoted homebody” who doesn’t characteristically reach out to people. He also noted his age difference with James as another reason they haven’t had a tight connection.
“I established my scoring record in 1984 – the year LeBron was born,” he wrote. “When he started to make a name for himself, I was already pretty removed from the NBA world.”
Abdul-Jabbar pointed out that while he has publicly praised James in the past, he was openly critical of the Los Angeles Lakers forward for appearing hesitant to endorse the COVID-19 vaccine in 2021.
“I know that LeBron is too accomplished, mature, and savvy to hold a grudge over something so petty,” he wrote.
Ultimately, Abdul-Jabbar celebrated James for beating his record.
“Bottom line about LeBron and me: LeBron makes me love the game again,” he wrote. “And he makes me proud to be part of an ever-widening group of athletes who actively care about their community.”
James broke Abdul-Jabbar’s record during a game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder. He ended the night with 38,390 points.
Abdul-Jabbar attended the historic game and ceremonially handed a ball to James on the court after he broke the record.