Kareem Abdul Jabar
DATE OF BIRTH: April 16, 1947
TIME OF BIRTH:
PLACE OF BIRTH: Harlem, New York
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr. on April 16, 1947, is a retired American professional basketball player renowned for his exceptional 20-season career in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Playing as a center, Abdul-Jabbar achieved remarkable success with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Abdul-Jabbar's basketball journey began in high school at Power Memorial in New York City, where he led the team to 71 consecutive wins. He continued his dominance in college, playing for the UCLA Bruins under coach John Wooden. During his college career, he won three consecutive national championships, became a three-time most outstanding player of the NCAA tournament, and earned multiple Player of the Year awards.
In the 1969 NBA draft, Abdul-Jabbar was selected as the first overall pick by the Milwaukee Bucks. He played a pivotal role in leading the Bucks to their first NBA championship in 1971. During his six seasons with the Bucks, Abdul-Jabbar established himself as one of the league's top scorers, utilizing his trademark skyhook shot.
In 1975, Abdul-Jabbar was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he played the final 14 seasons of his career. His contributions were instrumental in the Lakers' success during the Showtime era, and he won five additional NBA championships with the team. Abdul-Jabbar's accolades include six NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards, 19 NBA All-Star selections (tied for the most ever), 15 All-NBA Team memberships, and 11 NBA All-Defensive Team selections.
At the time of his retirement in 1989, Abdul-Jabbar held numerous NBA records, including career points, games played, minutes, field goals made, and more. His impact on the game led to widespread recognition as one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Pat Riley, Isiah Thomas, and Julius Erving referred to him as the greatest basketball player ever.
Beyond his playing career, Abdul-Jabbar ventured into coaching, acting, writing, and activism. Despite facing challenges in coaching due to his reserved demeanor, he found success in various roles, including winning a championship as the head coach of the Oklahoma Storm in the United States Basketball League. His acting career includes notable roles in films like "Game of Death" (1972) alongside Bruce Lee and "Airplane!" (1980).
Abdul-Jabbar's activism dates back to the 1960s, where he protested the 1968 Summer Olympics to highlight racial inequality. He converted to Sunni Islam during the summer of 1968 and boycotted the Olympics, emphasizing his commitment to social justice. In 2016, President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contributions.
Health-wise, Abdul-Jabbar faced challenges such as migraines and leukemia, becoming an advocate for awareness. His post-playing career includes honors for advocacy and contributions, showcasing his impact beyond the basketball court. Overall, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's multifaceted career and enduring legacy make him one of the most influential figures in the history of basketball.