Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Born Lewis Ferdinand Alcindor on April 16, 1947, in New York City, and standing 7 feet, 2 inches tall, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was one of the best players in basketball history. Abdul-Jabbar joined the LA Lakers in 1975, playing with Magic Johnson.

Basketball player. Born Lewis Ferninand Alcindor on April 16, 1947, in New York, New York. Standing an amazing 7 foot, 2 inches tall, Abdul-Jabbar was one of the best players in basketball history. He started at basketball starting at an early age. Playing for Power Memorial Academy, he was chosen as an All-American player three times during high school. His talents on the court led to a scholarship at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Playing for UCLA from 1965 to 1969, Abdul-Jabbar became one of the country’s top college players. He helped his team to win three national championships from 1967 to 1969 and was named the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament's Most Outstanding Player for those years.

In 1969, Abdul-Jabbar turned pro, joining the National Basketball Association's (NBA) Milwaukee Bucks. His career started out strong, scoring more than 2,000 points in his first season with the team. He was named Rookie of the Year in 1970. The next year he led his team to victory in the 1971 NBA championships. Also that year, he changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, which means "noble, powerful servant," as a part of his conversion to the Islamic faith.

Abdul-Jabbar moved to the Los Angeles Lakers in 1975, and continued to dominate the game. He helped the team win six NBA championships and was named the league's MVP six times. He was known for his signature jump shot known as the "skyhook." While with the Lakers, Abdul-Jabbar broke Wilt Chamberlain's scoring record. He also was named the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year in 1985. His success on the court led to some acting opportunities. Abdul-Jabbar appeared in several films, including the 1979 martial arts film Game of Death and 1980 comedy Airplane!

When Abdul-Jabbar retired in 1989, he was the NBA's all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points and became the first NBA player to play for 20 seasons. During his impressive career, he played more than 1,500 games.

Since his retirement, Abdul-Jabbar hasn't strayed too far from the game he loves, working for the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers. He even spent a year as a coach on the White Mountain Apache reservation in Arizona—an experience that he recorded in the 2000 book, A Season on the Reservation. He has written several other books, including 2007's On the Shoulder of Giants about the Harlem Renaissance. Abdul-Jabbar has also worked as a public speaker and spokesperson for several products.

A father of five, Abdul-Jabbar has four children from his first marriage to Habiba Abdul-Jabbar and a son from another relationship.

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