LOS ANGELES: LeBron James said Tuesday that he expected to extend his NBA career by at least two more years as he basked in the “surreal” achievement of becoming the league’s all-time leading points scorer.
The 38-year-old Los Angeles Laker finally passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the top NBA scorer with a 38-point haul in his team’s 133-130 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
James finished the night with 38,390 career regular season points, three more than Abdul-Jabbar’s tally of 38,387, a record that had stood since 1984.
The only question now is how much James will increase his record tally before he finally calls time on his career.
James said after his record-breaking night that he was in no mood to exit the stage just yet. “I know I can play a couple more years,” James told TNT television. “The way I’m feeling, the way my body’s been reacting to me through this season. “I know I can play a couple more years — it’s all about my mind. If my mind is still into it, if I’m still motivated to go out and try to compete for championships, I feel like I can still do that. “If my mind is sharp and I feel motivated to prepare myself every single day then I can continue to play this game.”
James, meanwhile, admitted he was still struggling to come to terms with finally eclipsing Abdul-Jabbar’s longstanding record. “It’s so surreal,” he said. “Because it’s something I never made a goal of mine or set out to do, so I’m just happy.
“Longevity, being able to be out on the floor for three multiple franchises, trying to be the greatest I can be every single night, and having great teammates and coaches who allowed me to be me.
“I don’t know if it’s hit me. It hit me a little bit on the floor with my family after it happened. But it hasn’t quite sunk in yet.
“To be able to play at this level 20 years in, to be at the apex of my game, it’s a pretty surreal feeling. “Hopefully I can continue it, but at the end of the day it’s just been a pleasure to be in this league for 20 years. “And for however long I’m able to go, it’s been a hell of a ride.”
Asked by television pundit and NBA great Shaquille O’Neal whether Tuesday’s record meant he was now the greatest player in NBA history, James replied: “I’ll let everybody else decide who that is. “But it’s great barber shop talk.”