NBA Hall-of-Famer and Los Angeles Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar compiled a laundry list of accomplishments during his 20-year career. While also being one of the most influential athlete activists, he stood apart by using his basketball IQ and thirst for knowledge to become a respected figure in professional sports.
On the basketball court, Abdul-Jabbar is most known for holding the top spot on the NBA all-time scoring list, finishing his career with a total of 38,387 points. His journey with the Milwaukee Bucks and Lakers also involved establishing his trademark ‘sky-hook,’ described by several as the most unstoppable shot in NBA history.
Dec. 1 marked an anniversary of sorts for the 19-time All-Star, as it stems back to the a game against the Utah Jazz. During a 117-86 win that improved the Lakers’ record to 13-5, Abdul-Jabbar officially passed Oscar Robertson for second on the all-time scoring list on this day in Lakers history.
The six-time NBA champion only trailed Wilt Chamberlain at the time for the top spot, with Hakeem Olajuwon, Elvin Hayes, Moses Malone, Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Karl Malone all eventually joining the list of players surpassing Robertson’s 26,710 points.
Abdul-Jabbar stood alongside Magic Johnson as the leaders of the ‘Showtime’ Lakers during the 1980s, as they captivated the NBA with their style of play and excellent teamwork. Little did they know at the time that they would be the originators of the up-tempo pace that has taken over today’s NBA.
The 70-year-old is rightfully known for his dominance on the offensive end, but was also a terrific defender at the rim, hauling in rebounds and earned a total of 3,189 blocks during his career.
While the scoring milestone took a tremendous amount of time to amount reach, ‘The Captain’ would go on to play another seven seasons in the NBA, before receiving a well-deserved retirement as a true innovator and legendary figure.
While he would go on to win a total of six MVP awards, two scoring titles, and two NBA Finals MVP awards, Abdul-Jabbar made a concerted effort to make sure he wasn’t just known for basketball.
The New York Times best-selling author was also a public figure during the Civil Rights Movement and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.
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