Tag: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar named Global Cultural Ambassador


Few people can represent both the diversity and opportunity in the United States like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

So he makes an interesting and smart choice as a United States Global Cultural Ambassador, something Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton named him on Wednesday, the White House announced.

He will soon be going to Brazil in his new role, trying to strengthen already strong cultural bonds with the land of Renaldo and Nene. Next week he will be there meeting with some of the less well off youth of that nation and discuss the importance of education, social and racial tolerance, cultural understanding, and using sports as a means of empowerment. Of course, there will also be basketball clinics, Kareem is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, six-time NBA champion, six-time MVP, 19-time All-Star, owner of the most devastating shot in the history of the game, and the man behind a legendary movie role as co-pilot Rodger Murdoch.

“I am excited and honored to serve my country as a Cultural Ambassador for the U.S. Department of State,” said Abdul-Jabbar in a released statement. “I look forward to meeting with young people all over the world and discussing ways in which we can strengthen our understanding of one another through education, through sports, and through greater cultural tolerance.”

Kareem is a complex person, not one that fits neatly into our predefined boxes of what a sports star should be. That rubs some people the wrong way, and he is not by his nature a person who loves the public spotlight on his private life. But he is a person committed to the promotion of education. He’s an author, helped make a documentary about the Harlem Rens — combining his love of African-American history and hoops — and is a man who has taken advantages of the opportunities granted him to live a full and interesting life. To me, that makes him a great ambassador of our American culture.

Kobe youngest player to 28,000 points, not catching Kareem

New York Knicks v Los Angeles Lakers

There’s irony that it came on one of the worst shooting nights of his career, but Kobe Bryant set a historic NBA scoring mark on Sunday night.

With a fourth-quarter free throw Kobe became the youngest player in NBA history to reach 28,oo0 points. Kobe is 33 years, 131 days.

Only five other players in NBA history have scored that many points, period. Kobe needed 1,109 games to get there, but four players who reached this milestone in fewer games (Wilt Chamberlain in just 825 games, Michael Jordan in 886, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1,008 and Karl Malone in 1,070. (The other member of the 28,000 point club is Shaquille O’Neal.

If you’re thinking can Kobe catch Kareem for the all time lead… not really. Kobe is 10,375 points behind the Captain — it would mean Kobe scoring at the rate he has for the past few years for another five years to do it. That’s asking a lot. More likely, Kobe catches MJ (because you know that Kobe wants to).

Kobe was just 6-of-28 shooting in a loss to the Nuggets Sunday, but even that illustrated how Kobe got to this milestone. Kobe’s greatest asset is a confidence and unmatched belief in himself, which allows him to attack constantly and put up gaudy scoring numbers. It also means on an off night he firmly believes that the next shot will fall and he will shoot himself out of this slump. Like a tragic character in a Greek tragedy, Kobe’s greatest strength can be his greatest weakness.

But when he retires, he will rightfully be remembered as one of the game’s greatest scorers.

Kareem says Shaq didn’t get help because he didn’t ask

Los Angeles Lakers

Among the seemingly countless interesting bits coming out of Shaquille O’Neal’s new book — hitting stores next week, if you still buy your books in stores — were some swipes at Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Shaq said that Kareem offered him no help through his NBA career. Which seems believable because Kareem is a bit standoffish.

But Kareem responded on his Facebook page (via the Los Angeles Times) that Shaq didn’t ask for advice and didn’t take it the one time it was given.

“As a pro I never approached Shaq because I thought he was pretty successful dunking everything and I assumed he didn’t want my help,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “Additionally, I was never on the coaching staff of any of his teams. I was never unfriendly to him and I would talk to him, but Shaq was enjoying his success, doing it his way. He never asked me of what I thought he should be doing and he never tried to reach out to me for any instruction and I respected that decision.”

“If I had any idea that Shaq wanted to learn from me, I would have been happy to have worked with him, but all indications that I had received was that he felt he was doing fine and he didn’t need or want my help,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “I am totally surprised by Shaq’s comments as I tried to respect his privacy and never got any indication from anyone that he wanted or needed any input from me with regard to how he played the game. Shaq had a great career, and I, like everyone else, respect what he has achieved.”

Shaq’s dad is right — he didn’t really need the skyhook. People dismissed Shaq as a guy who could just dunk, but as our own John Krolik likes to point out the goal of an offensive player is to create a high-quality shot for himself (or a teammate) and they don’t get much more high quality than a dunk. If Shaq could power his way to the hoop for a dunk, he should.

But Kareem was more than one shot. Kareem came with tremendous footwork, passing skills, great court awareness, a very high IQ for the game. There were a lot of things he could have passed along.

But their personalities never really let that happen.

NBA 2K12 releases names of legends in the game

NBA 2K12

With the lockout likely to muck up the season, NBA 2K12 made a smart move — this year’s game is going to have legends of basketball that you can unlock and play.

We knew a few of them — Michael Jordan was back from last season, with Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Three names aimed right at the heart of the NBA 2K12 demographic, not so coincidentally.

Now we have the list of the other players in the game, as reported by ESPN:

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, Scottie Pippen, Oscar Robertson, Bill Russell, John Stockton, Isiah Thomas, Jerry West.

And there is more.

Then again, the way the NBA’s Greatest mode is setup in the game, you can almost think of the 15 legends as 30 legendary teams as each legend not only has his actual teammates from the time period, but they are playing a rival from that same year, so although Dominique Wilkins is not among the 15 legends, he is in the game thanks to the matchup created when Larry Bird and the Celtics take on the 1985-86 Hawks.

We are pumped about this because it may be the only basketball on our television this fall.

Most minutes played in NBA history, regular season and playoffs? Kareem.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with Bucks
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When we talk about the wear and tear on a player’s body, we can quickly look up how many regular season minutes a player has racked up.

But that leaves out the playoffs. For a player like Kobe Bryant, that is 8,165 minutes — the equivalent of three more 82 game seasons at his regular season minutes average. That is a lot of additional wear and tear.

So when you combine regular season and playoff minutes, who has racked up the most minutes in NBA history? Henry at TrueHoop wanted to know, asked Basketball-Reference.com to crunch the numbers (because they do it better than anyone).

Your all time Top 10:

1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 66,297
2. Karl Malone 62,759
3. Wilt Chamberlain 55,418
4. John Stockton 54,162
5. Elvin Hayes 54,160
6. John Havlicek 53,331
7. Reggie Miller 52,927
8. Gary Payton 52,599
9. Jason Kidd 52,386
10. Robert Parish 51,881

Kidd is the highest among active players, with Kobe next at No. 16 all time (48,310), Kevin Garnett at No. 18 (47,998) and Ray Allen at No. 24 (45,156). Go check out the whole list to see more.

Most of the players are of a modern generation, which shouldn’t be a shock due to superior training, diet and surgery (knee injuries that ended your career before keep you out six weeks now).

One last thought — we forget how great Kareem was for how long. When you talk about the greatest players ever, he has to be in the conversation.

It’s an interesting list, go check it out.