Connect with us

The celeb news

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Career retrospective | Yardbarker

SPORT

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Career retrospective | Yardbarker


You could make the argument that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the most-overlooked basketball player based on his production. That’s incredible, given his significant height and the fact he played in Los Angeles for many years. And yet, we aren’t giving Kareem his due in terms of a truly amazing career in hoops. He’s one of the 10 best players in NBA history, but he doesn’t get talked about as much as other big names, even some lesser players. Let’s give Abdul-Jabbar his much-deserved props now with a look back at his career, which includes some truly impressive post-playing work.

 

1 of 21

Lew Alcindor dominates in high school

Lew Alcindor dominates in high school

Rich Clarkson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Abdul-Jabbar was born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr. in New York City, and would be known as Lew Alcindor early in his life. Alcindor was already 6’8’’ by the time he was in middle school, so it is likely not surprising that he was unstoppable in high school. His team went 79-2 in his career and won three league titles. However, Alcindor and company also won the national high school boys title two times and made it to the finals one more time.

 

2 of 21

Alcindor goes to UCLA, sets record in debut

Alcindor goes to UCLA, sets record in debut

Rich Clarkson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

After high school, Alcindor went across the country to play for John Wooden at UCLA. Freshman weren’t allowed to play at the time, so Lew didn’t make his debut until he was a sophomore. Then, in his first game he dropped 56 points, a UCLA record.

 

3 of 21

Dunking is banned in college, possible because of Alcindor

Dunking is banned in college, possible because of Alcindor

Rich Clarkson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Alcindor was great out of the gate, being named an All-American and Player of the Year during the 1967 season. After that season, dunking was banned by the NCAA. It is largely accepted that they banned the dunk to try and stifle Alcindor’s dominance. Spoiler alert: It didn’t work.

 

4 of 21

Alcindor dominates in college, wins three titles with the Bruins

Alcindor dominates in college, wins three titles with the Bruins

Rich Clarkson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

All three seasons that Alcindor played for the Bruins say UCLA end the season as the champions. In fact, UCLA went 88-2 in his time at the school, one game where Alcindor was injured. He was named Player of the Year and an All-American in all three of his seasons as well.

 

5 of 21

Alcindor converts to Islam, boycotts the Olympics

Alcindor converts to Islam, boycotts the Olympics

Focus on Sport/Getty Images

During the summer of 1968, Alcindor decided to convert to Islam. It was at this time he would adopt the name Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, though he did not start using it publicly until 1971. That summer, he also refused to play for Team USA at the 1968 Summer Olympics to protest racism in the United States.

 

6 of 21

Kareem is drafted first overall by the Bucks and the Nets

Kareem is drafted first overall by the Bucks and the Nets

Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Abdul-Jabbar had a lot of suitors after college. The Harlem Globetrotters offered him a contract worth $1 million that he turned down. Kareem was also drafted first overall in 1969 by both the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA and the New York Nets in the ABA. Abdul-Jabbar decided to sign with the Bucks and join the NBA.

 

7 of 21

Abdul-Jabbar wins Rookie of the Year

Abdul-Jabbar wins Rookie of the Year

Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Kareem hit the ground running in the NBA. Almost singlehandedly, Abdul-Jabbar improved the Bucks by 29 wins and he finished second in the league in points per game and third in rebounds per game. Kareem won Rookie of the Year, and then in the playoffs he tallied 46 points and 25 rebounds against the 76ers.

 

8 of 21

Kareem wins MVP and a title in his second season

Kareem wins MVP and a title in his second season

Ron Kuntz Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images

After Kareem’s first season, the Bucks traded for All-Star Oscar Robertson. The team improved to a league-best 66 wins as Abdul-Jabbar won the MVP after averaging 31.7 points per game. Milwaukee dominated in the playoffs, only losing twice in route to the franchise’s first (and to date only) title. Abdul-Jabbar was also named Finals MVP.

 

9 of 21

Another two MVPs in Milwaukee

Another two MVPs in Milwaukee

Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Abdul-Jabbar would stay in Milwaukee for a few more seasons, winning two more MVP awards. This includes a season where he averaged a whopping 34.8 points per contest. Also during this time he started to wear protective goggles after multiple eye injuries in his career. While Kareem had success, and the team made the playoffs, the Bucks would not win another title.

 

10 of 21

Kareem is traded to the Lakers

Kareem is traded to the Lakers

Focus on Sport via Getty Images

Abdul-Jabbar grew tired of being in the Midwest after a few seasons with the Bucks. Kareem wanted to be moved to Los Angeles or New York, and in the end the Bucks traded him to the Lakers for a package of four players.

 

11 of 21

Abdul-Jabbar wins MVP in first season in LA

Abdul-Jabbar wins MVP in first season in LA

Focus on Sport via Getty Images

Kareem was his usual dominant self in his first season in Los Angeles. He led the league in points, blocks, and rebounds in route to winning a fourth MVP. However, Abdul-Jabbar and the Lakers missed out on the playoffs.

 

12 of 21

Yes, another MVP for Kareem

Yes, another MVP for Kareem

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

During the 1976-77 season Kareem was able to carry the Lakers to the best record in the NBA. He also once again won the MVP, a record-tying fifth MVP award. In the playoffs, Kareem faced off with the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals, led by Kareem’s fellow UCLA alum Bill Walton. Walton and the Blazers got the win, keeping the Lakers out of the NBA Finals.

 

13 of 21

Abdul-Jabbar misses his only All-Star Game

Abdul-Jabbar misses his only All-Star Game

Focus on Sport/Getty Images

In the first game of the next season, Abdul-Jabbar punched Kent Benson in the face. This broke Benson’s jaw, but it also broke Kareem’s hand. While Abdul-Jabbar wasn’t suspended, he did miss two months due to his injury. This led Kareem to miss the 1978 All-Star Game, the only All-Star Game he missed in his career.

 

14 of 21

Magic Johnson joins the Lakers and begins a dynasty

Magic Johnson joins the Lakers and begins a dynasty

Focus on Sport/Getty Images

The Lakers added Magic Johnson, the first-overall pick of 1979, and that changed the fortunes of the Lakers franchise. The combination of Magic and Kareem went to the NBA Finals eight times, winning five championships.

 

15 of 21

Kareem wins his sixth MVP

Kareem wins his sixth MVP

Focus on Sport/Getty Images

During the dynastic run of the Showtime Lakers, Kareem won his sixth MVP in 1980. That was also the year the Lakers won their first championship with Abdul-Jabbar. Those six MVPs remain an NBA record.

 

16 of 21

Abdul-Jabbar sets the career points record

Abdul-Jabbar sets the career points record

David Madison/Getty Images

In 1984, Kareem broke Wilt Chamberlain’s record for most points in a career. Obviously, Abdul-Jabbar continued to add to that record and to this day his 38,387 points remains the NBA record. That is, until LeBron James has something to say about it we assume.

 

17 of 21

Kareem wins Finals MVP

Kareem wins Finals MVP

Focus on Sport via Getty Images

During the 1984-85 season, Kareem was not quite the player he used to be. However, he still averaged 22 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks. Despite his advancing age, he was already into his late thirties, Abdul-Jabbar helped the Lakers to another title, this time winning Finals MVP.

 

18 of 21

Abdul-Jabbar retires after Finals loss

Abdul-Jabbar retires after Finals loss

Focus on Sport/getty Images

The Lakers won back-to-back titles in 1987 and 1988, though by that point Kareem was a veteran presence and a supporting player to Magic. He was in his forties and was getting by on guile and his famous skyhook. Kareem announced that he would retire after the 1988-89 season, when he was 42. The Lakers returned to the NBA Finals, but lost to the Pistons. Still, Abdul-Jabbar stayed true to his word and retired.

 

19 of 21

Kareem’s acting career

Kareem’s acting career

Paramount

Kareem had a ton of interests outside of basketball, which includes acting work. Most famously, Abdul-Jabbar played Roger Murdock in the classic comedy “Airplane!” He also appeared in “Fletch,” the Bruce Lee film “Game of Death,” and a ton of TV shows, often playing himself.

 

20 of 21

Abdul-Jabbar also has a successful writing career

Abdul-Jabbar also has a successful writing career

Leon Bennett/WireImage

In addition to acting, Abdul-Jabbar has done writing work. We aren’t talking just a memoir, either. He’s also written historical non-fiction, a comic about Mycroft Holmes, and even was on the writing staff of the reboot of “Veronica Mars.” How many former NBA players can say that?

 

21 of 21

Many MVPs, many titles, and a spot in the Hall of Fame

Many MVPs, many titles, and a spot in the Hall of Fame

Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Needless to say, Kareem is in the Basketball Hall of Fame. He won six NBA titles, six MVPs, two Finals MVPs, and was named to the All-NBA First Team a whopping 10 times. His number 33 has been retired by the Bucks, Lakers, and the UCLA Bruins. In addition to all that, Kareem was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in 2016. On the court and off it, Abdul-Jabbar has made a massive impact. And yet, it still feels like he needs more love.





Source link

Continue Reading
You may also like...

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in SPORT

To Top