Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a former NBA (National Basketball Association) player of legendary status. At 7 feet, 2 inches in height, Kareem dominated the in the NBA for 20 years. Kareem was voted the National Basketball Association’s most valuable player on six different occasions, in addition to being on the NBA All-Star team in 19 of his 20 seasons. Being named one of the fifty greatest players in NBA history, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was inducted into the NBA hall of fame in 1995.
Kareem was born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor, Jr. in Harlem, New York City, in 1947. Born a large baby, 12 pounds and 11 ounces, Ferdinand began dominating the game of basketball at an early age. In high school he led his team at Power Memorial Academy to a 96-6 overall record with a 71-game winning streak and three straight New York City Catholic championships. After high school he decided to attend UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles), where he played college basketball from 1966 to 1969. During his college campaign, Ferdinand helped lead UCLA to 88 wins and just 2 loses with three championships. In addition to the fantastic team accomplishments, Ferdinand was named Player of the Year twice, named First Team All-American on three occasions and was the first Naismith College Player of the Year. The trademark goggles he wears was the result of a scratched left cornea that happened while playing basketball in college. Ferdinand Alcindor also converted to Islam during college but his name change didn’t occur until 1971.
After college, Kareem was drafted in the 1969 NBA Draft as the first overall pick by the Milwaukee Bucks after declining a millions dollars to play for the Harlem Globetrotters. Placing second in scoring and third in rebounding during his first year in the NBA, Abdul-Jabbar easily earned Rookie of the Year honors. In his second season with the Milwaukee Bucks, he earned his first scoring title, his first Most Valuable Player award and first Finals MVP award along with winning the his first NBA championship. Over the next five years he remained a dominant force with Bucks with multiple scoring titles and winning MVP honors another two times before being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. In his first five years with the Lakers he earned three more Most Valuable Player awards. Before Kareem’s retirement from basketball in 1989 he won five more championships with the Lakers under the coaching of Pat Riley.
Besides being a basketball superstar, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been in a couple films as an actor and has appeared as a guest on a few television shows. His first movie appearances were in “Airplane!” and “Fletch”. Kareem has since been named to NBA Hall of Fame and in 2005 became an assistant to coach Phil Jackson of the Los Angeles Lakers. Kareem is currently helping to develop young players on the Lakers. Every player on the Lakers surely listens to the wise words of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar because he is one of the top five players in the National Basketball Association’s history.