Isiah Thomas: LeBron James Will Pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Become NBA's GOAT

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistSeptember 22, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) drives up court during the second half of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game against the Denver Nuggets Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas declared this week that Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James will be the greatest NBA player of all time by the time he retires.

Thomas said the following in an interview with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated:

"I admire his insatiable appetite to be on top and stay on top. I've never seen a player dominate so many statistical categories. We've had players dominate certain areas, but we've never seen a player that truly does it all. And he's done it, without fail, for 17 years. For now, Kareem is the best that's ever done it. But by the time he's done, LeBron James will be the best we have ever seen play the game of basketball."

James finished second to Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo in MVP voting this season, but he is proving his worth in the playoffs, as L.A. holds a 2-0 series lead over the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals.

In this his second season with the Lakers, LeBron may be closing in on his fourth career NBA title, as he previously won two with the Miami Heat and one with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

To go along with his championships, James is a 16-time All-Star, four-time MVP and three-time Finals MVP.

James already compares favorably to Abdul-Jabbar, as Kareem was a 19-time All-Star, six-time champion, six-time MVP and two-time Finals MVP.

Abdul-Jabbar ranks first on the all-time scoring list with 38,387 points, but LeBron is already third with 34,241 points and is showing no signs of slowing down at 35 years of age.

The GOAT debate usually involves James and Chicago Bulls great Michael Jordan, but Thomas' well-documented bad blood will MJ over the years may have something to do with why Thomas put Kareem in that spot instead.

Regardless, there is no doubt Abdul-Jabbar is one of the best to ever do it, as is LeBron, but James seems to have several years of high-level basketball left in him, which could put him above all others a few years from now.