The Sky Hook
Perhaps what most Lakers fans–and fans in general–remember Kareem for was his unique and unstoppable shot: The Sky Hook.
The signature shot helped propel the nineteen-time All-Star to the number one spot on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 38,387 points. Of course, the statue outside of Staples Center will be of Kareem in the motion of shooting–you guessed it–the Sky Hook.
Rather than trying to explain the beautiful shot or its effectiveness, check out the video below:
Although there have been other players to play 20 seasons in the NBA, Abdul-Jabbar’s career was hands-down the most potent.
Even though his ability to dominate the boards dwindled during the latter years of his career, Kareem’s scoring didn’t take a major dip until his 18th season! And even then, he was still putting up 17.5 points per game.
However, despite the fact that his dominance waned, his Lakers still managed to win a championship during his second-to-last season in the league; which is another testament to his greatness and ability to remain effective, even in a reduced role.
Throughout a remarkable 20-year career, Cap finished with career averages of 24.6 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 2.6 blocks; all on an average field goal percentage of 56 percent.
Kareem holds the record for most All-Star selections at 19, trailed by Shaquille O’Neal at 15, and Kobe Bryant at 14. The one year he didn’t make the team was during the 1977-1978 season, in which he missed 20 games due to injury.
That points out an even more incredible statistic: Throughout his 20-year career, Kareem played in 1,560 regular season games out of a possible 1,640; which means he only missed five percent of possible games.
What’s the secret to having such a potent, healthy 20-year career as a professional athlete? Kareem famously credits yoga as one key factor.
A Legacy Cemented
He already has his name in the record books, his jersey retired, and an induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. It is only fitting now that one of the greatest men to ever pick up a basketball get his statue permanently erected in front of the greatest team in sports’ new building–the Staples Center–alongside other Lakers greats: Magic Johnson, Jerry West, and Chick Hearn.
A basketball legend finally will receive his ultimate tribute today, and it couldn’t be more well-deserved.
With that, I’ll leave you with a video of some top moments from the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar:
*Stats provided by basketball-reference.com