LeBron James is on track to break Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time scoring record this season. Magic Johnson thinks his former Los Angeles Lakers teammate will struggle to relinquish his spot atop the leaderboard.
Speaking to Shannon Sharpe on the Club Shay Shay podcast, Johnson said he believes Abdul-Jabbar figured he would hold the NBA scoring record "forever."
"I don’t think well," Johnson said when asked how Abdul-Jabbar will handle getting passed. "Let's just be honest. If I got to say it, we got to be honest. And the fact that it’s a dude playing for the Lakers too. It’s a dude playing in LA. I think it will be a hard pill to swallow."
Abdul-Jabbar, who last played in 1989, is first with 38,387 points through 20 seasons despite making one three-pointer. James is closing in at 37,144 points. It'd take him 47 games to pass the Hall of Famer if scoring 27 points per game, his average since joining the Lakers in 2019.
James recently said he has "no relationship" with Abdul-Jabaar. The former center criticized LeBron for posting a meme that seemingly downplayed the COVID-19 pandemic and later said he "should be embarrassed" about not promoting vaccine efficacy.
Johnson told Sharpe that he hopes the two will settle their differences.
"I think one day that's going to happen," Johnson said. "If I can play a part in that, I would love to do that. I think, let [LeBron] pass [Kareem] first. Let that happen. Let that soak in for a minute, and then put the two men together because they're going to find out they're similar."
In August, Abdul-Jabaar said he'll be "very happen" to see James break his record. He said he hopes to attend and "cheer him on" when LeBron moves to first.