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What Kareem Thinks About Lebron

One star celebrates the brightness of another

I've used hoops as the backdrop for lessons on rivalry and greatness. Lebron James recently passing Kareem to become the NBA's all-time leading scorer is another opportunity to explore this rich topic.[1]

Rather than focusing on stats[2], I'm interested in studying how the greats, regardless of field, think about their craft, as Kareem does so thoughtfully, and preparing themselves for long-term success.

How does Kareem feel about Lebron's record-breaking journey?

It’s as if I won a billion dollars in a lottery and 39 years later someone won two billion dollars. How would I feel? Grateful that I won and happy that the next person also won. His winning in no way affects my winning.

Why is Kareem thrilled for Lebron?

Whenever a sports record is broken—including mine—it’s a time for celebration. It means someone has pushed the boundaries of what we thought was possible to a whole new level. And when one person climbs higher than the last person, we all feel like we are capable of being more.

What does Kareem care about more than the scoring record?

If I had a choice of having my scoring record remain intact for another hundred years or spend one afternoon with my grandchildren, I’d be on the floor in seconds stacking Legos and eating Uncrustables.

Where does Kareem land?

LeBron makes me love the game again. And he makes me proud to be part of an ever-widening group of athletes who actively care about their community.

On and off the court, Kareem is a case study in greatness.

  1. Insightful sports-as-life lessons are generally under-explored. ↩︎

  2. I'm not terribly interested in the sports conversation — who's greater: Kareem or Lebron? — although I'm sure Bill Simmons has some hilarious thoughts on the topic. ↩︎