Los Angeles Lakers icon Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has admitted that he does not have a personal relationship with LeBron James. They've had multiple encounters through the years, but Kareem revealed that he hasn't had a conversation with LeBron that lasted more than “two or three minutes.”
Be that as it may, this hasn't diminished Abdul-Jabbar's respect for the NBA's new all-time leading scorer. Kareem also had nothing but praise for LeBron and the Lakers for their impressive effort this past season. From starting their season with just two wins in their first 12 games, James and Co. pulled off a near-miracle by turning their season around after the NBA trade deadline. The Lakers went all the way to the Western Conference Finals, where they eventually fell to Nikola Jokic and the mighty Denver Nuggets.
According to Kareem, the Lakers simply ran out of gas:
“At the end of the year, after all that, LeBron and most of the guys looked like they’d been through two seasons, you know? But they still gave it an awesome effort,” Abdul-Jabbar said Monday, via Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times.
“I felt that if they hadn’t started out so bad that they could’ve done a lot better. They seemed like at the end of the season, they were kinda gassed, you know? But they really did a great job of finding a new identity and going out and doing very well. They just missed making it to the Finals. They should be proud of that. I think it’s a really neat achievement.”
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar then provided his thoughts on LeBron James potentially calling it a career. The four-time NBA champ has yet to officially confirm if he'll be back with the Lakers next season amid retirement rumors. If James does decide to hang it up, though, Kareem believes that he's already cemented his legacy:
“I think it’s up to him,” Kareem said. “Certainly doesn’t have to prove anything. And it’s just what he wants to do at this point.”