Appearing on “Jimmy Kimmel Live”, former Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar stated his interest in the vacant UCLA head coaching job. It wasn’t too long ago that Abdul-Jabbar was asked about the Milwaukee Bucks vacancy, as it seems he is interested in becoming a head coach.
In previous years, Abdul-Jabbar has been a Lakers assistant, primarily helping former Laker Andrew Bynum and current Lakers center Dwight Howard. With UCLA’s basketball program on the decline, Abdul-Jabbar was asked about his interest in the vacant coaching position.
“I would certainly be interested in being the coach of the team. It would be great to have the opportunity to restore the program to what it was. Not necessarily in terms of winning, but having the guys get their degrees and learn about the game of basketball.”
It remains to be seen whether or not Abdul-Jabbar will be seriously considered for the job as several prominent college coaches will be considered. When looking at Abdul-Jabbar’s college record, he only lost two games in his entire playing career and could pass along knowledge of the NBA and the importance of staying in school.
To that effect, like former UCLA great Bill Walton, Abdul-Jabbar sees the decline of the program in recent years.
“UCLA is still putting out fine scholars, but the basketball program has suffered a little bit,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “To restore that part of the tradition would be great.”
Whether or not UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero takes Abdul-Jabbar’s interest seriously will be something to monitor in the coming days. After two straight Final Four appearances in the early 2000’s, UCLA hasn’t reached the level of success its alumni and Abdul-Jabbar expect. It’s very evident that Abdul-Jabbar wants to get into the coaching ranks and UCLA taking a chance on him would make his career come full circle at the school.
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