Few former NBA players and Los Angeles Lakers legends are more revered than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The 70-year-old Jabbar shattered records during his 20-year NBA career in the league leaving behind a legacy that may never be topped by another player.
With all the knowledge and wisdom Jabbar has to offer, he’s the perfect person to teach centers in the league today how to polish this skills in the paint. Kareem had the impeccable footwork to go along with a high basketball I.Q. and arguably the most unguardable shot in NBA history, the skyhook, using it to become a six-time NBA champion, a Hall of Famer and the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.
Jabbar attempted to share his knowledge of the game and mentor a few Lakers centers during their stint with the team. Kareem spent time with both Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum, but despite some success with Bynum, the legend’s advice was wasted on two disinterested players.
In a recent interview with Lakers Nation to promote his new book, Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off the Court, Kareem talked about trying to mentor and teach Howard and Bynum how to perfect their craft and showing them how to implement the skyhook. Unfortunately for Jabbar, things didn’t work out the way he had hoped it would with the two former Lakers centers.
“Well, Dwight Howard didn’t want to do any work,” Kareem told Lakers Nation. “Andrew Bynum did not want to do a lot of work, but Andrew was kind of getting the hang of it. I don’t think Andrew was that interested in playing basketball.
“If he had stuck with it, I’m sure he would’ve done better. I’m sure he would’ve had a lasting career in the NBA.”
Jabbar went on to explain how Bynum simply wasn’t fond of the game nor did he want and to become a dominant player. As for Dwight, it seemed to be a lost cause from the beginning.
“I don’t think he liked the game,” Jabbar said of Bynum. “He didn’t want to master the game.”
“Dwight Howard, I’m not going to say anything about him because I really don’t understand what his thing was.”
Fast forward a few years after Jabbar tried to mold both centers in Los Angeles, Bynum is out of the league and Howard is in limbo with the Atlanta Hawks. Neither player has had much success since leaving the Lakers nor does it appear that Howard will ever get that elusive championship or happiness in the NBA that he’s desired all these years.