In happier times for LeBron James and the Lakers (it was last Wednesday), he sat at a folding table in the press dining room after a win in Indianapolis, speaking over the noise of fresh ice cubes being spat out by an ice machine, and engaged in a thought exercise.
How does the record LeBron is about the break, most points scored over a career in the NBA, compare to all the other revered records in sports?
“I think it’s one of the greatest records in sports, in general, up there with the home run record in baseball,” he said.
As he talked about his pending ascension past Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record of 38,337 points, and how it relates to baseball’s most hallowed record, James became confused on the comparison he was trying to make.
He said “Hank Aaron had it for so long, and then you see guys like Sammy and Mark McGwire and those guys start climbing and it was like ‘oh, man, this thing could really happen. When you started really watching and paying attention to it, you’re like, ‘they got a chance to knock it out every single time.’ It was fun for me as a sports person. It was fun watching those guys, just going to bat and chase it.”
The simple confusion is that in that unforgettable summer of 1998, when James was a 13-year-old living in public housing in Akron, McGwire and Sosa were dueling each other in pursuit of Roger Maris’ single-season home-run record of 61, and not Aaron’s 755 career homers, but that little detail slip does not take away from the fact it clearly left a mark on him.