It’s inevitable that LeBron James will break the record. But how will he embrace the man he passes on the NBA’s all-time scoring list? That’s up for debate and will be interesting to watch.

James, as he stated before the season, has no relationship with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He delivered that statement coldly in sunglasses. The reason for the distance was left unsaid, but it’s believed the issue is Jabbar’s public criticism of James’ ‘big balls’ celebration and his diminishing of COVID-19 into a meme.

In other words, Jabbar didn’t kiss the ring.

My understanding is Jabbar, 75, plans to be on hand in Los Angeles when James will likely set the record — either Feb. 7 against the Thunder or Feb. 9 against the Bucks. It’s worth watching just for the ceremonial passing of the torch.

Then the NBA gets the entire All-Star weekend in Salt Lake City to celebrate James.

Thibodeau’s tormentor

The closest Thibodeau got to a championship as a head coach was always thwarted by LeBron James.

Thibodeau’s Bulls were thrice eliminated by James in the playoffs during his five seasons on the sideline in Chicago.

Patrick Ewing’s Knicks could probably relate.

“That’s the way the league is,” Thibodeau said. “If you love competition, you love that aspect of it. It should bring out the best in you. And everyone has to go through something. When you look at his career, while I was in Boston (as an assistant coach) we had good success against LeBron. He went to Miami. Then when I was in Chicago, and that was who we had to go through. I think every team, you have to go through certain teams. That’s what makes the game so good is when you have two good teams battling it out.”

Thibodeau was actually part of the Bulls contingent to meet with James during the 2010 free agency, when the four-time MVP instead chose the Heat. Thibodeau was impressed by James’ preparation, with the backdrop of their meeting being Thibodeau’s defense as a Celtics assistant eliminating James’ Cavaliers in the prior playoffs.

" I had just gotten the Chicago job and he had a ton of questions about that series,” Thibodeau said. “And they were really good questions. You could tell that he had already been going through it. They were very pointed questions.”

Grimes’ time

Knicks wing Quentin Grimes was selected for the Rising Stars Challenge — which has been renamed the Jordan Rising Stars — at All-Star weekend.

Grimes, a second-year player, came into Tuesday averaging 10.3 points in 30 minutes, but his biggest contribution to the Knicks has been perimeter defense.

“I think it’s my first time ever going to an all-star game in general so I’m definitely going to take it in, soak it in,” Grimes said. “And treat the game like it’s a regular game.”

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