In 2008, ESPN called Kareem Abdul-Jabbar the greatest player in college basketball history. To many, including Pat Riley, Micheal Cooper and Isiah Thomas, he is the greatest basketball player of all-time…yes, in front of Michael Jordan…and LeBron or Kobe if you actually think one of those two are somehow better.
What keeps Kareem and his unbreakable record of 38,387 points from sometimes being mentioned on the top of more GOAT lists is his perceived personality and history with other players and organizations he’s reportedly upset. It’s also been the speculated reason why some believe he’s never been offered a head coaching job.
His most recent issue with another player was with LeBron and his Bill Russell-less Mount Rushmore.
“It’s impossible,” Abdul-Jabbar said of picking just four players. “I don’t know what LeBron was thinking. He didn’t even see Bill Russell play. He has no idea what Bill Russell did. Eleven championships in 13 years? Eight in a row? LeBron isn’t going to get anywhere near that. I don’t get it. And here he didn’t want Bill Russell on his Rushmore. I think today’s players have a very limited perspective on the game.”
In the same interview, he criticized today’s game and centers with a statement that many young people believe to be the total opposite.
“I don’t think any of the big men playing today could have coped with the big men of that era,” he said. “Wilt Chamberlain would have crushed those guys.”
I often agree with his outspoken statements. Maybe it’s because I grew up watching and loving Kareem with the Showtime Lakers and saw Airplane at least 50 times as a kid. Whether or not you agree or think he’s “bitter” or “whiny,” there’s just no denying he’s one of the, if not the, greatest scorer and basketball player of all-time. How could you not think that, considering he signed a complaint letter to Scottie Pippen a couple of years ago: “Affectionately, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, NBA’s All-Time Leading Scorer“
Here are five (+ a few more) favorite videos of mine, showcasing the greatness of the man who changed his name from Lew Alcindor to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and changed the game we all love in the process.
CAREER CLIFFS NOTES
High School: 71 straight wins. 2 National championships.
College: 56 PTS & 21 REB in his 1st varsity game, 3 championships in 3 years
NBA rookie: 28.8 PTS & 14.5 REB, Rookie Of The Year, All-Star, All-NBA 2nd team.
2nd season: Scoring Champion, All-Star, All-NBA 1st Team, MVP, Finals MVP, Championship
The 19 x All-Star retired as the all-time NBA leader in points with 6 Championships & 6 MVP awards.