LeBron James wants the Los Angeles Lakers to be competitive when he passes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time scoring record.
“I want to win. (Losing is) not sitting well with me,” James told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “I don’t like having accomplishments, and it don’t feel right, when it comes in a losing effort. … So as we sit here right now as a franchise and as a team that’s below .500 – we’ve been playing some good basketball as of late, but we want to, and I want to win at the highest level. Breaking records or setting records or passing greats in a losing effort has never been a DNA of mine.”
Winners of four straight after Friday’s 130-114 victory against the Atlanta Hawks, the Lakers sit 12th in the Western Conference standings. However, Los Angeles is only one game out of the No. 10 position.
James scored 25 points against the Hawks. He needs 460 points to pass Kareem’s record and is projected to do so in the next 17 games, potentially on Feb. 9 against the Milwaukee Bucks, according to ESPN. The 38-year-old is averaging 28.9 points per game on 51.1% shooting from the field, including 60.3% on 2-pointers.
“To be able to go out and still be a focal point of my opponent’s scouting reports lets me know I’m still playing at a high level,” James said. “I want to continue to play at a championship level and still be respected every time I touch the floor as a threat throughout whatever minutes I’m playing.”
Rather than play in two more games to be eligible to win the scoring title, LeBron sat out the final five contests of last season to heal an ankle injury while the team was eliminated from playoff contention.
“Me being out on the floor, trying to get the scoring (title) in games that don’t matter, it felt so corny to me,” said James, who averaged 30.3 points last season. “That has never mattered to me unless it was about winning.”
The Lakers are on the second night of a back-to-back on Saturday, taking on the Sacramento Kings on the road. Tipoff is slated for 10 p.m. ET.
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