- NAME: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
- OCCUPATION: Basketball Player
- BIRTH DATE: April 16, 1947 (Age: 66)
- EDUCATION: Power Memorial Academy, University of California-Los Angeles
- PLACE OF BIRTH: New York, New York
- Originally: Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr.
- AKA: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
- AKA: Lew Alcindor
- ZODIAC SIGN: Aries
Best Known For
Hall of Fame basketball center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the NBA's all-time leading scorer. He won six NBA titles, five with the Los Angeles Lakers, over 20 years.
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"Live in Milwaukee?" he said in an early magazine interview. "No, I guess you could say I exist in Milwaukee. I am a soldier hired for service and I will perform that service well. Basketball has given me a good life, but this town has nothing to do with my roots. There's no common ground."
Following the end of the 1975 season, Abdul-Jabbar demanded a trade, requesting Bucks management send him to either New York or Los Angeles. He was eventually shipped west for a package of players,
none of whom came close to delivering for Milwaukee what Abdul-Jabbar would give the Lakers.
Over the next 15 seasons Abdul-Jabbar turned Los Angeles into a perennial winner. Beginning with the 1979-80 season, when he was paired with rookie point guard Earvin "Magic" Johnson, the dominant center propelled the Lakers to five league titles.
His signature jump shot, the skyhook, came to be an unstoppable offensive weapon for Abdul-Jabbar, and the Lakers enjoyed championship dominance over Julius "Dr. J" Erving's Philadelphia 76ers, Larry Bird's Boston Celtics and Isiah Thomas' Detroit Pistons.
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 the 1980 comedy Airplane!
Even as he aged, the health-conscious Abdul-Jabbar remained in remarkable shape. Well into his 30s, he still managed to average more than 20 points a game. By his late 30s, he was still playing around 35 minutes a game. In the 1985 Finals against the Boston Celtics, which the Lakers won in six games, the 38-year-old Abdul-Jabbar was named the series MVP.
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. His career totals included 17,440 rebounds, 3, 189 blocks and 1,560 games. He also broke records for having scored the most points, blocked the most shots and won the most MVP titles in 1989.
Years after his retirement, Abdul-Jabbar seemed especially proud about his longevity. "The '80s made up for all the abuse I took during the '70s," he told the Orange County Register. "I outlived all my critics. By the time I retired, everybody saw me as a venerable institution. Things do change."
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 Shoulders of Giants, about the Harlem Renaissance. Abdul-Jabbar has also worked as a public speaker and a spokesperson for several products.
In 1995 Abdul-Jabbar was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
In November 2009 Abdul-Jabbar was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia, but his long-term prognosis looked favorable. In February 2011, doctors declared the retired NBA star cancer free.
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