The Lakers’ Tradition of the ‘Big Fella’ Continues With Dwight Howard
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was acquired by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1975, marking the beginning of Showtime. Showtime later went into full-force once the Lakers drafted Magic Johnson in 1979. Kareem brought the famous “sky-hook” to Los Angeles, which continued to be practically non-guardable without goaltending the shot. In fact, only a couple were ever able to block the sky-hook, including Wilt Chamberlain and Hakeem Olajuwon.
Kareem retired from the Lakers in 1989 with a total of 38, 387 points (most of all-time), 17,440 rebounds and 3,189 blocks. To break it down, that’s 24.6 points, 11.2 boards and 2.5 blocks per game. The Cap won five of his six championships and three of his record six regular season MVPs as a Laker. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995 and had his Lakers #33 jersey retired in 1989. As mentioned before, the Lakers will honor Kareem with a well-deserved statue in front of Staples this upcoming season. Here’s a look at some of his achievements during his professional career.
- 6× NBA champion (1971, 1980, 1982, 1985,1987–1988)
- 6× NBA Most Valuable Player (1971–1972, 1974,1976–1977, 1980)
- 19× NBA All-Star (1970–1977, 1979–1989)
- 2× NBA Finals MVP (1971, 1985)
- 10× All-NBA First Team (1971–1974, 1976–1977,1980–1981, 1984, 1986)
- 5× All-NBA Second Team (1970, 1978–1979,1983, 1985)
- 5× NBA All-Defensive First Team (1974–1975,1979–1981)
- 6× NBA All-Defensive Second Team (1970–1971,1976–1978, 1984)
- 2× NBA scoring champion (1971, 1972)
- NBA Rookie of the Year (1970)
- NBA All-Rookie Team (1970)
- NBA all-time leading scorer
- NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team
- 3× NCAA Men’s Basketball Champion(1967–1969)
- 3× NCAA Basketball Tournament MOP(1967–1969)
- Naismith College Player of the Year (1969)
- 2× USBWA College Player of the Year (1967–1968)
- No.33 retired by Milwaukee Bucks
- No.33 retired by Los Angeles Lakers
After entering the NBA in 1992 with the Orlando Magic, Shaq signed with the Lakers in 1996, joining a young Kobe Bryant to create one of the most dynamic and successful duos of all-time. Shaq is arguably the most dominate and physical centers of all-time, especially in the low-post. His power and physical presence on both ends of the court were unmatched during his prime.
Shaq ended his career in 2011 with 28,596 points, 13,099 rebounds and 2,732 assists over his career. His averages were 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game. Shaq spent his prime years of his career with the Lakers, and along with Kobe Bryant, led the team to back-to-back-to-back championships from 2000 to 2002. The Lakers will retire his #34 jersey during this upcoming season. Below is a brief look at his accomplishments over his career.
- 4× NBA champion (2000, 2001, 2002, 2006)
- 3× NBA Finals MVP (2000–2002)
- NBA Most Valuable Player (2000)
- 15× NBA All-Star (1993–1998, 2000–2007, 2009)
- 3× NBA All-Star Game MVP (2000, 2004, 2009)
- 2× NBA scoring champion (1995, 2000)
- 8× All-NBA First Team (1998, 2000–2006)
- 2× All-NBA Second Team (1995, 1999)
- 4× All-NBA Third Team (1994, 1996–1997, 2009)
- 3× All-Defensive Second Team (2000–2001, 2003)
- NBA Rookie of the Year (1993)
- NBA All-Rookie First Team (1993)
- 1994 FIBA World Championship MVP
As you can see, there is a reason why Dwight Howard’s smile was so big during his introductory press conference a few weeks ago. There is a reason why he stood in admiration when he looked and held that purple and gold jersey with that historic Lakers name on the front and his name on the back. There is a reason why his avatar of Twitter is a picture of him with these above Lakers center legends’ jerseys behind him (shown below).
The Lakers are a basketball organization that has attracted and employed some of the best players of all-time. I won’t bore you with my list since it would take some time. In addition, the Lakers have built a history of acquiring the best centers the game has to offer to fulfill their goals as a team and organization. Howard is on track to make this beloved list of Laker legends. As Mitch Kupchak referred to in his press conference, he hopes to one day retire Howard’s number and join his jersey with the rest of these Lakers legends. The tradition continues.
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