Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

From Academic Kids

Kareem Abdul Jabbar
Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (born April 16, 1947 in New York City, New York) was a successful high school, collegiate, and professional NBA basketball player. NBA's all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points. Today he is a successful author, and part-time actor.



Born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor (usually known as Lew Alcindor), to Cora and Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor in Harlem, New York City, he was a center who grew to 7'2" (2.18 m) tall.

High school

He led Power Memorial Academy to three straight New York City Catholic championships and a 71-game winning streak, and a 96-6 overall record.


He played for the UCLA Bruins' from 1965 to 1969 under coach John Wooden. During his time on the team, UCLA had 88 wins and only two loses. Graduated with a B.A. from UCLA. The Harlem Globetrotters offered him $1 million to play them, he said 'no'.


On a coin-flip with the Phoenix Suns, he would be the number one pick in the 1969 NBA Draft pick. The winner of the coin-flip was the Milwaukee Bucks, where he would play five seasons. In 1975 the Bucks traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers, for center Elmore Smith, guard Brian Winters and rookie blue chippers Dave Myers and Junior Bridgeman.

While at UCLA Abdul-Jabbar converted to Islam. He took his Arabic name in 1971, publicly announcing it on May 1 of that year, one day after the Bucks completed a four-game sweep of the Baltimore Bullets (known today as the Washington Wizards) in the NBA Finals. However, he has repeatedly denied any connections to the Nation of Islam, having been converted by a Turkish imam of the Hanafi school of thought, under whom he studied at UCLA.

At UCLA, he suffered a scratched left eyeball; from then on, he mostly played wearing goggles.

While in LA, to improve his flexibility he started doing Yoga in 1976.

In addition to his goggles, Abdul-Jabbar was famous for his "Skyhook" shot, which was notoriously difficult to defend against. He was also notable for his physical fitness regimen. He retired from the game in 1989 after, a then record 20 pro seasons. Little known fact is that he is a pupil of the Kung Fu Master - Bruce Lee, under whom he studied Jeet Kune Do.

NBA Statistics

  • Jersey Number - 33
Look ma! I can fly!
Look ma! I can fly!
  • Games Played - 1560 (2nd Highest in NBA history)
  • Field Goal % - 55.9 (8th Highest)
  • Free Throw % - 72.1
  • 3-Point % - 5.6
  • Rebounds - 17,440 (3rd Highest)
  • Rebounds per Game - 11.2 (25th Highest)
  • Assists - 5660 (29th Highest)
  • Assist per Game - 3.6
  • Steals - 1160
  • Steals per Game -
  • Blocks - 3189 (2nd Highest)
  • Blocks per Game - 2.57
  • Points - 38,387 (Highest)
  • Points per Game - 24.6 (12th Highest)


  • Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (15 May 1995)
  • College:
    • Player of the Year (1967, 1969)
    • Three-time First Team All-American (1967-69)
    • Played on three NCAA champion teams (1967, 1968, 1969)
    • Most Outstanding Player in NCAA Tournament (1967, 1968, 1969)
    • Naismith Award (1969)
  • NBA:


Volunteers to coach basketball at the Alchesay High School basketball on the Fort Apache (also called the White River Apache), Indian Reservation in Whiteriver, Arizona, in 1998 for $1. In 2000 he was an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Clippers, under Jim Todd. Becomes head coach, in 2002, of the Oklahoma Storm of the USBL. Hired by the New York Knicks in 2004.

Outside basketball - author & actor

Playing for the Lakers allowed Jabbar to try his hand at acting: In 1980, he participated as the co-pilot in the movie Airplane!. He had numerous other TV and film roles, including 1978's Game of Death, where he fought Bruce Lee, and in Stephen King's The Stand. Played himself in the hit Chevy Chase movie Fletch.

He was co-executive producer of the TV movie: The Vernon Johns Story, in 1994.

He is also a best-selling author, the latest of his books being Brothers In Arms: The Epic Story of the 761St Tank Battalion, WWII's Forgotten Heroes (Publisher: Broadway 2004, ISBN 0385503385), co-written with Anthony Walton. It is the history of the 761st Battalion, an all-black tank squadron.

Other books:

  • Giant Steps with Peter Knobler (Publisher: Bantam Books, 1987) ISBN 0553050443)
  • Kareem (Publisher: Random House; 1st ed edition, 1990, ISBN 0394559274)
  • Selected from Giant Steps (Writers' Voices) (Publisher: Rebound by Sagebrush, 1999, ISBN 0785799125)
  • Black Profiles in Courage : A Legacy of African-American Achievement with Alan Steinburg (Publisher: Perennial, 2000, ISBN 0380813416)
  • A Season on the Reservation: My Soujourn With the White Mountain Apaches with Stephen Singular (Publisher: William Morrow & Co, 2000, ISBN 0688170773)

Abdul-Jabbar has a prescription to smoke marijuana in the state of California, the result of nausea-inducing migraine headaches [1] (http://www.cleartest.com/testinfo/kareem.htm).

External links

Template:Naismith Award Winners Mende:Kareem Abdul-Jabbar et:Kareem Abdul-Jabbar fr:Kareem Abdul-Jabbar he:קארים עבדול-ג'באר it:Kareem Abdul-Jabbar nl:Kareem Abdul-Jabbar no:Kareem Abdul-Jabbar pt:Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ru:Абдул Джаббар zh:卡里姆阿卜杜勒贾巴尔


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