Frank Vogel Calls LeBron James the GOAT, Believes He'll Lead Lakers to 'Great Things'

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 13, 2022

MIAMI, FLORIDA - JANUARY 23: LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers high fives head coach Frank Vogel against the Miami Heat at FTX Arena on January 23, 2022 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel praised LeBron James after he passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most points in NBA history when counting both the regular season and playoffs.

"To me he's the greatest player ever to play," Vogel told reporters after Saturday's 117-115 road loss to the Golden State Warriors. "... I still believe he's going to lead us to great things this year."

James led the Lakers with 26 points in Saturday's contest, which brought his career total that includes the postseason to 44,157. Abdul-Jabbar finished his career with 44,149 points.

"It's hard for me to speak on it now because I hate doing anything when it comes in a loss. And we had an opportunity to win a big game tonight," the four-time NBA MVP told reporters.

He added: "Been appreciative of the opportunity to play this game at the highest level. I love the game of basketball. I love being a part of the NBA and being able to inspire so many different sets of generations. I guess, it's a pretty big deal."

It's been a frustrating year so far for Los Angeles, which was expected to reemerge as a championship contender following an offseason roster overhaul headlined by a trade for Russell Westbrook.

The changes haven't yielded the desired results, however, and the Lakers' problems have been compounded by the injury absences of James and Anthony Davis.

Vogel continues to vocalize optimism that the Lakers will be able to reverse their fortunes before the postseason rolls around, though.

L.A. currently sits ninth in the Western Conference standings with a 26-31 record, which puts the team on pace to land in the play-in tournament for the second straight year. There's been little sign of a surge as of late with a 3-7 record of its past 10 games.

That said, the Lakers do have plenty of talent and could add another piece or two from the free-agent market once some high-profile buyouts are completed around the league—ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported they're interested in Goran Dragic once he's let go by the San Antonio Spurs—so a late-season turnaround can't be totally ruled out.

James and Co. will attempt to begin turning a corner Wednesday when they host the Utah Jazz.