Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James said he feels "like I'm the best basketball player that ever played the game" as he's approaches the NBA's all-time scoring record.
James recently spoke with Southern California News Group as part of an exclusive interview published Tuesday (February 7), hours before his game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, as he sits just 36 points shy of passing Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's record 38,387 career regular-season points. The four-time NBA champion addressed recent comments made by Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki -- who defeated James and the Miami Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals to win his only NBA championship -- in which he claimed that he would be "running out of arguments" for Michael Jordan as the greatest of all-time once James broke the all-time scoring record.
“I’m gonna let everybody else decide where (the scoring record) puts me,” James told the Southern California News Group. “It’s not for me to say now, ‘OK I’m this or that.’”
“What I bring to the table as a basketball player … I feel like I’m the best basketball player that ever played the game,” James added after a pause. “That’s just my confidence, that’s just what I bring to the table, what I possess. But as far as if the scoring record gets me to another level, I don’t know.”
James has drawn comparisons to Jordan since being regarded by most as the greatest high school prospect ever and that debate intensified throughout his legendary 20-year NBA career. The 38-year-old is two championships shy of Jordan's six, but is likely to hold several individual NBA records by the time his career concludes.
“I think he’s gonna have the greatest career of all time,” Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers said of James via Southern California News Group. “I think he’s already had it, you know, and I think Michaels the greatest of all time. But that doesn’t take anything away from LeBron. LeBron has had the greatest career.”
James had previously surpassed Abdul-Jabbar's record as the NBA's all-time leading scorer in regular-season and postseason play during the Lakers' loss to the Golden State Warriors last February. The Lakers will host the Thunder at 10:00 p.m. ET on Thursday night.