Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor, who would later change his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, after converting to Islam (New York, United States, April 16, 1947). An American former basketball player, known to the public by the nicknames “The King”, “The Sky Hook” or “Cap”.
In his sporting career he became the top scorer in NBA history, earning more than thirty-eight thousand points. He won six NBA titles. He played for twenty years, in which he belonged to the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers. His figure was elevated to the Hall of Fame. Since his retirement in 1989, no NBA player has managed to surpass his marks.
Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) was born on April 16, 1947, in New York City, United States, the only child between policeman Lewis Alcindor and his wife, Cora Alcindor. From an early age, he distinguished himself from his classmates by his height. By the age of nine, it was more than five feet tall (1.52 m).
Likewise, from this time he began to practice basketball from school. In High School, he led his team to achieve seventy-one consecutive victories, winning the New York City Championship three times.
In 1965, Alcindor moved to Los Angeles, where he entered the University of California. Along with his studies he continued to play basketball, becoming the best player in the university. At this stage, within the Bruins, he had the opportunity to have as coach John Wooden, with whom he won three national championships, between 1967 and 1969, becoming worthy of the title of the most outstanding Player by the National Cellegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
The Milwaukee Bucks
In 1969, Alcindor was selected for the first overall pick in the NBA draft. He started playing for the Milwaukee Bucks, a team that was just beginning his second year of life. Kareem quickly adapted to the demands of a professional league, in his first season he finished third in rebound and second in scoring, qualifying for the Rookie of the Year title.
Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor was one of the bucks’ best acquisitions, who went from a season of failures to a win season, thanks to the player’s performance. That 1971 season, the Bucks finished it 66-16, sweeping the playoffs to the Baltimore Bullets in the NBA final. Alcindor, for his part, won the title of Most Valuable Player.
Also in 1971, after coming into contact with Malcom X’s work, Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor decided to convert to Theism, forever adopting the name Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, which can be translated as “noble and powerful servant”. Three years later, in 1974, Abdul-Jabbar managed to bring his Bucks back to the end, although on this occasion they lost to the Boston Celticst.
The Lakers of Los Angeles
The following year, ended the season, he was part of a package of players, sent west by the NBA. Abdul-Jabbar was transferred to The Angels, California, where he began playing for the Lakers, truly leading them to the glory of basketball. The next fifteen years, thanks to the performance of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the Lakers became champions.
In 1979, he began playing with rookie gunman Earvin “Magic” Johnson, forming an invincible duo, which earned his team five titles in the NBA Finals. At that time he began to be recognized for his move “The Celestial Hook”, which was considered by experts to be a lethal offensive weapon.
Career as an actor and writer
His fame as a player also allowed him to start a career as an actor. In 1973 he made his martial arts film debut, opposite Bruce Lee, called “The Game of Death”. In 1980 he appeared in the comedy film “Where’s the Pilot?” where he played the role of Roger Mordock. He has also appeared in several American films and television series, including “The Prince of Bel-Air” and “Full House”, hits of the nineties. In 1994 he premiered as co-executive producer of the film Vernon Johns Story.
Abdul-Jabbar has also excelled as a writer, becoming the author of numerous bet-sellers, such as Brothers In Arms: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion, a book co-written with Anthony Walton and which tells the story of the 761st Battalion in the United States in World War II. In the same way he has written other works such as Giant Steps with Peter Knobler, Kareem, among others, coming to harvest half a dozen texts.
Statistics and retirement
Despite his age, his performance continued to be on a high score, being able to stay for thirty-five minutes of play on the court after the age of thirty, managing to score no less than twenty points per game. In 1985 he was named Most Valuable Player. Upon his retirement from the NBA his marking was 38,387 points, being the highest-average NBA player and the most season-long player who has played the NBA for twenty years. His total stats include 1,560 games, 3,189 blocks and 17,440 rebounds.
After his retirement as a player, he has worked as a coach and commentator for teams such as the New York Knicks and the Lakers of The Angels. He also devoted himself to the fight against illiteracy and hunger. In 1995 he was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
On November 10, 2009, Abdul-Jabar announced to the public that a strange form of Leukemia had been detected. However, two years after treatment, in February 2011 doctors declared him totally healthy.
Image source: parade.com
August 6, 2019