In 1989 when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar left the game at the age of 42, no player had ever played in more All-Star Games, logged more seasons, blocked more shots, scored more points, or won more Most Valuable Player Awards in NBA history. With a momentous list of team and personal accomplishments to his credit, it is no wonder that he is amongst the top 3 LA Lakers players of all time. Formerly known as Lew Alcindor, Abdul-Jabbar was also a 6-time league MVP and went on to win the Finals MVP awards 14 years apart. His longevity in the game speaks volumes.
Abdul-Jabbar began his professional career in 1969 playing for the Milwaukee Bucks, after declining a 1 million dollar offer from the Harlem Globetrotters, where he became an instant star and won the award of NBA Rookie of the Year. In 1975 the LA Lakers acquired Abdul-Jabbar from the Bucks and stayed with them until he retired almost 15 years later.
Well known for his fitness and stamina, Kareem used to run circles around many players, some of whom were as much as 10 years his junior. With a dedicated training regime, the advanced programme was seen to be years ahead of itself, producing astounding results. In current times, with research and numerous advancements, there are players who would be able to keep up, but the one thing that has remained unique to Kareem is his signature ‘sky-hook’. Although Kareem deemed it to be ‘unsexy’, this specific shot became one of the most effective techniques to date. It is no wonder that Kareem’s list of achievements reads like a book. Should Abdul-Jabbar been playing for the Lakers in present day, one would very likely have seen an online game created around him and featured on sites like Jack Gold iphone casino.
Even though he was able to achieve unparalleled success on the court, Kareem wasn’t the most popular player and it took him many years to actually win the praise of basketball fans across the board. On his retirement tour in 1989, after 20 professional seasons, received standing ovations at all games – both home and away and even received a yacht as a parting gift.
Retirement has treated Abdul-Jabbar well, with him having written several books, acted in movies, worked as a coach, a broadcaster, taken part in hunger and literacy campaigns, and also was chosen as a basketball ambassador. As of 1995 Abdul-Jabbar is proudly an elected member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
There have been many discussions about the "greatest of all time" over the last few years with LeBron James winning now multiple titles… but don't forget Kareem. Because if you're including high school, college and pro careers – no-one was better.