As of writing, LeBron James is 1,106 points away from overtaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the NBA's all-time scoring list. A historic achievement that the whole NBA has their eyes on, despite the Los Angeles Lakers' disaster of a start this season.
As each game passes, James is closer to achieving his goal, however, one former player, in particular, believes that the 4-time champion won't be able to pass Kareem this season. According to John Salley, there's an unwritten rule as to why James won't be able to pass Abdul-Jabbar in the all-time scoring list this season.
Apparently, Kareem's record is meant to last forever
In a one-on-one interview with FOX Sports' Shannon Sharpe, Salley admitted that there will be people behind the scenes who will hinder James from becoming the number 1 scoring leader in the history of the NBA. These people don't want Kareem's record (which he's held for 38 years now) to break because, for them, it's a record that is meant to last forever.
"I think they are not going to let him get it ... LeBron," Salley said. "I didn't agree with something Phil Jackson said to me and then, I got into my 50s, and I got it. ... I said, 'Phil, Kobe had 81. he was about to get 104.' And he said, 'Well, some records need to stand. ... He's No. 2. He doesn't need to be No. 1.', Salley added.
This is clearly one hell of a theory Salley came up with, but it's certainly something that can't just be dismissed. According to Salley, it was Phil Jackson who didn't want Kobe Bryant to score more than 81 points when he did it against the Toronto Raptors in 2006, which was why he allegedly only played 42 minutes instead of the whole game.
As for James, Salley believes the same scenario will happen to him, especially if he continues to inch closer to breaking a record that many thought would last forever.
The only way James won't pass Abdul-Jabbar
While Salley's take may be considered an outrageous one but truthfully, there's only one way James won't be able to surpass Kareem's record — and that's if he or the Lakers decide to sit him out for not just a bunch of games but also most of the season. Or the worst-case scenario is if James suffers a season-ending injury (which hopefully won't happen) and scores less than 15 points a game from now (which, again, won't happen).
James, who is expected to pass Abdul-Jabbar sometime in February 2023, might not even consider sitting out games given how much he probably wants to achieve this record so badly (even if he doesn't say it often) or his ability to stat pad (sorry, someone's got to say it).
Ultimately, Salley's theory might not apply to James' pursuit of surpassing Kareem. But if the Zen Master indeed told the former player that some records are meant to stand forever, then it most probably applies to other players in different situations. Only time will tell if James will be held back from achieving this monumental record (as Salley believes), but as of right now, it doesn't seem like The King will be stopped from doing so.