Chivers said "he's earned everything he's done" and would be a deserved record holder - comments that touched the England international.
"It is great to be top with Martin Chivers," Defoe told Press Association Sport.
"It is special because he is a legend at the club, someone I look up to and respect. To be up there is great.
"Someone told me about his comments - the fact he will be so happy for me if I get it.
"I bumped into him the other week after the West Ham game, had a little chat with him, a little bit of banter. He is a really nice guy. I have total respect for him.
"One more goal I will be on the top on my own, and to have someone around you like Martin Chivers is special."
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