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Creator / Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

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"Arguably the best basketball career ever. From grade school to high school to college to the NBA, there has never been a more dominant player that Iíve ever seen."
Isiah Thomas, legendary point guard for the Detroit Pistons

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr.; April 16, 1947) is a former NBA all-star and current author, actor, and activist. A center for Milwaukee Bucks from 1969 to 1974 and later with the Los Angeles Lakers from 1975 until his retirement in 1989, Abdul-Jabbar retired as the NBA's all-time leading scorer (surpassed by LeBron James in 2023) and still leads the league in games won and minutes played. With a record total of 6 MVP awards, 19 NBA All-Star callings, and 6 championships, combined with his unstoppable court presence and one of the most distinguished college careers in basketball history, Kareem is a very serious contender for the greatest basketball player of all time. As a result, he's a pop culture giant (no pun intended) and one of the most recognizable players the NBA has ever produced. His most distinctive features are his gargantuan height (at 7' 2'', he towers even over most other basketball players), his nearly unblockable signature skyhook shot, the distinctive goggles he wore to protect his scratched corneas, the afro he sported in his younger days, and his conversion to Islam (and subsequent name change) in 1968 which, like fellow sportsman Muhammad Ali, led to some backlash and career difficulties.

The center was born Lew Alcindor but converted to Islam in college, where he led UCLA to three straight national championships, winning MVP in all three. In fact, he was so dominant at the college level that the dunk was banned for over a decade in the NCAA due to no one being able to stop him. Abdul-Jabbar changed his name after his second season in the NBA with the Bucks, who drafted him #1 overall in 1969. Before the name change, he won Rookie of the Year and the Bucks to their first (and for decades only) championship in his second season, winning both regular season and Finals MVP after leading the league in scoring. After the name change, Abdul-Jabbar won MVP twice more in '72 and '74, again claiming the scoring title in the former season and taking the Bucks to a Finals appearance in the latter.

However, Abdul-Jabbar successfully forced a trade back to his home-town Lakers in 1975 and played there for the remaining 13 years of his career. He continued to be immensely successful, winning MVP thrice more in '76, '77, and '80 and leading the NBA in blocks four times, becoming the Lakers' all-time leader in that stat. The arrival of Magic Johnson helped him win his first of five L.A. championships in that final MVP season; he claimed his second Finals MVP in '85. After finally retiring in 1989 at age 42 holding countless NBA career records. His #33 is retired by both the Bucks and Lakers.

Abdul-Jabbar has kept very busy in his post-playing career as an assistant coach, prolific author, historian, and social justice advocate. He also fought Bruce Lee in Game of Death (he was trained in Jeet Kune Do by the man himself), played co-pilot Roger Murdock in Airplane! (a character who repeatedly denied being Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), was more or less the Special Guest in TV shows in The '90s, and continues to pop up in all sorts of media (including As Himself in Glass Onion). An avid lover of detective fiction, he produced a series of highly acclaimed prequel novels to the Sherlock Holmes stories starring Sherlock's brother, Mycroft, as well as writing an episode for the revival season of Veronica Mars. His political activities have mainly included advocating on behalf of college athletes and offering cultural commentary on matters of race and religion.

Alongside Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, and Bob Cousy, Abdul-Jabbar is one of only four professional basketball players to have received the United States' highest civilian honor: the Presidential Medal of Freedom.


Alternative Title(s): Lew Alcindor

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