Kareem Abdul-Jabbar recently went on the Tonight Show and was interviewed by Jimmy Fallon. Jimmy asked him a question about Stephen Curry and what he has been doing for the game of basketball and this is what he had to say. “Back in the day, you would have like 10 3-point attempts a game, nowadays it’s more like 10-20 3-pointers a quarter. It seems like a 3-point shooting contest”.
Now, the man played in the NBA during the 70s and 80s. This was a time when 3-pointers were considered risky. When Kareem played in the NBA, any center that was shooting threes would get subbed out of the game. Times are different now, teams are actively looking for big men that can knock down 3s, and players like Anthony Davis and Joel Embiid are considered invaluable. But, all of this didn’t stop Kareem from becoming the NBA’s top scorer of all time.
“I am still the all-time leading scorer in the NBA and I only made one three-point shot.”
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) June 22, 2022
“I am still the all-time leading scorer in the NBA and I only made one three-point shot”, said Kareem. He then jokingly went on to say that he is only 2099 away from catching Steph.
Would Kareem still be the NBA’s all-time leading scorer had he played in today’s era?
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar achieved greatness on the basketball court back in his era. We are now watching Stephen Curry do the same in an era that he has shaped. Back then if you saw a kid shooting sky hooks on the court you would say he got that from KAJ. Nowadays, when you see kids pulling up from half court you put all the blame on Stephen Curry.
These two are a part of some of the most exclusive clubs in the NBA.
Only players in NBA history with at least two MVPs, two scoring titles and one Finals MVP…
Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan and Stephen Curry
— Andy Bailey (@AndrewDBailey) June 17, 2022
These stats are just a testament to the greatness of these players. But, their stories may have been different if they played in different eras.
If Kareem was still active in this era, it would’ve been a completely different story. He may not have been the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.
On the other hand, if you put Steph on a team in the 80s he would’ve set the league on fire with his 3-point shooting. But, all of this is still just speculation, we can sit here and debate all day about who is the better player but that won’t get us very far.
Therefore, it is better to accept that both of these players have achieved great things in eras that they helped shape themselves. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is an admirer of the game and these subtle jibes are nothing more than harmless jokes. Scoring 38,387 career points with just one 3-pointer made is still an insane statistic and no one in the modern NBA can catch his record without 3-point shots.