During our recent interview with Laker legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, we asked the Hall of Fame center about the NBA today and how it’s different from his playing days.
After laughing off the likelihood that the NCAA banned dunking because of him back in 1967, Abdul-Jabbar discussed his personal skill-set and what he believes he could do in the modern game.
“Well I think that someone with my skills could still dominate the game the way I did because I played close to the basket and took high percentage shots.”
There’s no question that Abdul-Jabbar had one of the most distinctive and unique styles of play in league history. His signature sky-hook has been widely considered the most unstoppable move in the history of the NBA, and would be effective in almost any era.
Kareem mentioned how he played with his back to the basket, close to the hoop. This allowed him to take high percentage shots that resulted in a high rate of success.
In today’s game Abdul-Jabbar might find more success as a power forward than a center. The modern centers are generally built more like Shaquille O’Neal – thick, strong and powerful. Since Kareem played more of a finesse game, he may have been forced to play more of a Pau Gasol role these days, using his shooting touch to make an impact on the game.
While Abdul-Jabbar’s sky-hook is still one of the most recognizable moves in all of North American sports, it’s easy to see how it could still be a devastating move in the modern era. The simple fact that it hasn’t been replicated by any player since Kareem is enough proof that it isn’t a simple move to master.
Regardless, there’s no question Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is one of the greatest players of all time, and had a set of skills that we haven’t seen since he retired.
For the complete interview with Abdul-Jabbar click here.