In a recent ESPN SportsCenter interview, LeBron James labeled himself a “pass first” player when discussing being on the brink of the NBA’s all-time scoring record currently held by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Though the 38-year-old is certainly an elite passer, currently sitting at sixth all-time in assists, the internet was not buying that narrative.
“The scoring record was never ever even thought of in my head because I’ve always been a pass-first guy. I’ve always loved seeing the success of my teammates,” the Los Angeles Lakers superstar told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin on Friday (Jan. 6).
“When I say I’m not a scorer, I say it in a sense of, it’s never been the part of my game that defines me,” he said. “… But there’s an argument to it. When you look at how long this record has stood and the great Kareem, being able to accomplish something like that […] But it won’t be for me to discuss because I’ve never felt that way.”
Though fans were excited about the rare, exclusive interview from the four-time NBA Champion, they were quick to call “cap” on his statement.
“LeBron James gotta stop this lie that he’s a ‘pass first’ player,” one user said. “He’s not and never has been. Being a great passer and having great court vision does not make one ‘pass first.’ Jason Kidd is pass first. Rajon Rondo is pass first. LeBron is not. And that ain’t a diss at all.”
“The ‘pass first’ thing is laughable,” expressed another user. “He’s got the second most shot attempts, and shot misses, in NBA history. He’s averaged more field goal attempts per game (19.7) than guys like Kobe, Bird, Durant, and Kareem.”
Another Twitter user decided to crunch the numbers and compare King James to other elite scorers in the NBA today. They determined that the 20-year veteran’s field goal attempts per game (19.7) exceeds that of Kevin Durant (18.7) and Steph Curry (17.7).
Evidently, the way Lebron James sees himself doesn’t match the statistics or how people view his game overall. Elsewhere in the interview, the father of three discussed the possibility of playing with his son, Bronny James.
“I need to be on the floor with my boy, I got to be on the floor with Bronny […] Either in the same uniform or a matchup against him,” he said. “I don’t mean like [guarding one another all game] — because he’s a point guard and I’m a, at this point now I’m playing center or whatever the team needs from me, but I would love to do the whole Ken Griffey Sr. and Jr. thing. That would be ideal for sure.”