In 1989 when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar left the game at the age of 42, no player had ever played in more All-Star Games, logged more seasons, blocked more shots, scored more points, or won more Most Valuable Player Awards in NBA history. With a momentous list of team and personal accomplishments to his credit, it is no wonder that he is amongst the top 3 LA Lakers players of all time. Formerly known as Lew Alcindor, Abdul-Jabbar was also a 6-time league MVP and went on to win the Finals MVP awards 14 years apart. His longevity in the game speaks volumes.
Abdul-Jabbar began his professional career in 1969 playing for the Milwaukee Bucks, after declining a 1 million dollar offer from the Harlem Globetrotters, where he became an instant star and won the award of NBA Rookie of the Year. In 1975 the LA Lakers acquired Abdul-Jabbar from the Bucks and stayed with them until he retired almost 15 years later.
Well known for his fitness and stamina, Kareem used to run circles around many players, some of whom were as much as 10 years his junior. With a dedicated training regime, the advanced programme was seen to be years ahead of itself, producing astounding results. In current times, with research and numerous advancements, there are players who would be able to keep up, but the one thing that has remained unique to Kareem is his signature ‘sky-hook’. Although Kareem deemed it to be ‘unsexy’, this specific shot became one of the most effective techniques to date. It is no wonder that Kareem’s list of achievements reads like a book. Should Abdul-Jabbar been playing for the Lakers in present day, one would very likely have seen an online game created around him and featured on sites like Jack Gold iphone casino.
Even though he was able to achieve unparalleled success on the court, Kareem wasn’t the most popular player and it took him many years to actually win the praise of basketball fans across the board. On his retirement tour in 1989, after 20 professional seasons, received standing ovations at all games – both home and away and even received a yacht as a parting gift.
Retirement has treated Abdul-Jabbar well, with him having written several books, acted in movies, worked as a coach, a broadcaster, taken part in hunger and literacy campaigns, and also was chosen as a basketball ambassador. As of 1995 Abdul-Jabbar is proudly an elected member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
There have been many discussions about the "greatest of all time" over the last few years with LeBron James winning now multiple titles... but don't forget Kareem. Because if you're including high school, college and pro careers - no-one was better.no comments
As far as the Lakers? Where to now? It appears as if they're focusing heavily on 1 year contracts. Clearing a hellacious amount of space leading into next year's free agency - where some of the biggest names in basketball are available. But I'd side with Bill Simmons and take it one step further. The Lakers should be tearing it down this coming season, and "riggin' for Wiggins".There are a helluva lotta good picks in a very strong draft next season. Trade Nash. Sell Pau near the deadline. Encourage Kobe to take his time with his achilles rehab. Go one better than Riley and get good picks and massive space for free agents.
Ok. Down 1 versus the Spurs. No surprises there... howver this time - right here, right now - is a perfect place for Dwight Howard to step up and be the player that he once was, that we all thought he could be.
That's not to say he hasn't been
the guy that we Lakerfans thought we were getting pretty good, but it's absolutely fair to think that he isn't quite the same player that he *can* be.
Whilst it's true that physically Dwight has struggled this season - he was quite obviously not even 80% when he returned at the beginning of the season - I do think that a very large part of the problem was above the shoulders.
Dwight has copped one hell of a beating in the last 18 months. This for a guy who loves to be loved has had an impact. Additionally, I think playing with a hard taskmaster (Kobe, not Mike) has taken a toll as well. I believe that a large part of the struggles Dwight's had during the season are mental/emotional. And I think he can recover from it.
Now's the time for Dwight to really put his stamp on the Lakers franchise that could well be his playground for a while to come. No Kobe, playing against the Spurs... and up against Father Time Duncan - Dwight should be one of the most dominant players on the floor whenever he's out there. Now, as far as a D12-reclamation-project, LA doesn't even need to win the series. But they have to compete, and Dwight has to be the primary reason.
This happens, and the future post-Kobe starts to look better. Hell, I know that there's a chance that Howard doesn't re-sign with LA - it's absolutely not a sure bet - but it's likely. More money, a fanbase starting to come around... and I'm not sure what the repercussions would be for his persona should he leave the league's premier glamor franchise because "there's too much pressure to win".
It'd be a helluva different place 'round LA with Dwight as the key guy. I'm not sure you can get two more diametrically opposed characters than KB#24 & D12... but it is what it is. Just happy to be a fan of a franchise who are enthusiastic about competing for a title each and every season.no comments
Man... so much running through my mind at the moment that I don't know what to say. I do know that I cannot sum it up as accurately or as succinctly as a certain Suns fan from Australia that I know...
Here's how he closed his piece on Kobe, and Kobe's injury:
Kobe proved to me - to everyone - that he's willing to literally destroy his body to get his team to the playoffs. He has apparently (yet to be confirmed by MRI) torn his achilles tendon completely - as in, there is no longer a connection between his calf muscle and his heel - and as his final act, stepped to the free throw line and made both free throws to give the Lakers a two point lead. With a completely torn achilles tendon. It has taken me until now to believe it, but that moment was Kobe Bryant epitomised.
It seems only fitting that Kobe is brought down in much the same way as the mythological hero his injured tendon was named after, because throughout his career Kobe has seemed as untouchable, as unbeatable as Achilles was in myth. For the sake of good basketball, we can only hope the arrow to Kobe's heel is not the fatal blow it was to Achilles - we're not ready for a post-Bryant NBA, much the same as I suspect the man himself is not ready for a post-NBA Bryant.
Love him, hate him or merely dislike him, all I ask is that you open your eyes, ignore your biases and give Kobe Bryant the respect that he truly deserves.
It's a worthy read, and I'd hope that a lot of Kobe's detractors end up in the same place. Kudos, Mike.no comments
12 games to go. LA are in 8th, 2 games ahead of Utah and Dallas in 9th/10th. 3 games behind Houston for 7th. The smoke's beginning to clear away now, and it looks like predictions of the Lakers making the playoffs will be on the mark. Hell... it's not like picking contenders for the Kentucky Derby - it's a pretty good bet now that the Lakers will make it.
Still, the road home's not easy. Difficult games litter the last 12. Hosting Memphis, Dallas the Dubs and Houston... and trips to GSW (today), LAC (har-har), San Antonio and Portland. That's 8 out of 12 difficult games, and no games on the schedule could be counted as "gimmes". However, Utah have a tough stretch home too, and of late they've been playing truly abysmal basketball. Dallas too have a hard road home. 7 of their games remaining are against playoff-bound teams, and only 2 games are relatively soft. Portland? Well... mathematically they're still in it. But with 9 games vs very tough playoff-bound opponents, and the only non-playoff teams they face are Dallas and Utah - two teams who will be most eager to do battle. Fuhgeddabowdit.
I don't think that the Lakers can catch Houston. Nor do I think they should want to should the standings up top remain the same. Redolent of a few years ago (Memphis vs San Antonio), #1 San Antonio are a much better option for LA than Oklahoma. Granted, a lot will have to go right for LA to have a chance against either... but I fancy the chances vs the Spurs far more than I do vs OKC. Simply a better match-up for the Lakers than the fast-paced Thunder.
Not a done thing yet... but given the way this season began, I'm happy where the Lakers find themselves now. Cannot believe that too... happy for the team just to make the playoffs? I guess this is what a Houston Rockets fan feels like!no comments
SOL REPUBLIC gave me a set of their Master Tracks headphones to 'test-drive'... and I have to say, I'm most impressed. I have a pair of Dead Mau5, and they're good... but they don't come close to the textured sound the Master Tracks deliver. The ear cushioning, the pivot system, the size of the speakers... all are simply fantastic.
I love 'em.
And I think that you will too. To win your very own set of SOL REPUBLIC Master Tracks, simply write down in the comment section who your all-time favourite Laker is. I'll choose one lucky winner to take home a pair of SOL REPUBLIC Master Tracks.
What could be easier than that?no comments
Ok, forget asking for a moment why the Lakers get themselves into situations like this... and ask: has Kobe Bryant ever been any better?