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Kareem says LeBron “deserves” to pass him for scoring title, should be “embarrassed” for COVID comments

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 03: Retired basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar holds the trophy for the league’s annual Social Justice Champion award prior to a game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets at Arena on April 03, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

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LeBron James recently passed Karl Malone to move into second on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, and at his current pace he will pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the middle of next season to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.

Abdul-Jabbar said on Sunday that he was good with that.

However, Abdul-Jabbar said LeBron should be “embarrassed” by some of the other things he’s done. Abdul-Jabbar spoke with reporters at the Lakers’ game, discussing the unveiling of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Trophy handed out to the league’s annual Social Justice Champion award (Carmelo Anthony won it this year). Via Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

“Some of the things he’s done and said are really beneath him, as far as I can see,” Abdul-Jabbar said... “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.”

Specifically, Abdul-Jabbar had an issue with some of James’ comments and actions surrounding COVID-19. LeBron supported Andrew Wiggins when, during training camp, he was hesitant about getting the COVID-19 vaccine (Wiggins eventually did get the shot because of the vaccine mandate in San Francisco that would have kept him from playing). LeBron also shared a meme on Instagram that likened the coronavirus to the flu or cold. Then there was Abdul-Jabbar calling out LeBron when he celebrated a big bucket with a “big balls” dance,” saying, “GOATs don’t dance.

Abdul-Jabbar said he would be happy to speak to LeBron about their differences.

To be clear, this is a civil and respectful disagreement between LeBron and Abdul-Jabbar, not a beef with bad blood. They are activists of different generations who view some things differently. Abdul-Jabbar touched on that when he walked back his comments later on Twitter.

These topics will come up again as LeBron closes in on Abdul-Jabbar’s record next season.