The ‘Gretzky’ of Basketball: Examining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Legacy

The ‘Gretzky’ of Basketball: Examining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Legacy

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, also known as Lew Alcindor, is considered as one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He is often referred to as the “Gretzky” of basketball, in reference to the great Wayne Gretzky of hockey, due to the dominance he displayed throughout his career. He retired in 1989, after playing for 20 seasons in the NBA, with multiple records that still stand today.

Abdul-Jabbar started his career at UCLA in 1965, and quickly became a dominant force in college basketball. He had an impressive three-year record of 88 wins and only two losses, winning three national championships in the process. Abdul-Jabbar’s success at the college level was unmatched, leading many to believe that he would easily succeed in the NBA.

He was selected first overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1969 NBA draft, and immediately made an impact in his rookie year, winning both the Rookie of the Year award and the NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. Abdul-Jabbar went on to win five more MVP awards throughout his career, becoming the all-time leader in that category. He also won six NBA championships, three with the Milwaukee Bucks and three with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Abdul-Jabbar is best known for his signature move, the skyhook, which he used to devastating effect throughout his career. This move involved Abdul-Jabbar raising the ball above his head with one arm and shooting it over his opponent using his other arm. The skyhook was virtually unblockable due to Abdul-Jabbar’s height and reach, and it became his go-to move in clutch situations.

In addition to his impressive on-court accomplishments, Abdul-Jabbar was a vocal advocate for social justice. He used his platform to speak out against racial injustice and discrimination, and was a well-known activist during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. He also wrote numerous books on the subject, including “Black Profiles in Courage” and “Brothers in Arms: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion, WWII’s Forgotten Heroes.”

Abdul-Jabbar retired in 1989, but his legacy lives on. He is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points, and is also the all-time leader in minutes played and field goals made. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995, and was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.

In conclusion, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s dominance on the basketball court and his contributions to social justice make him a legend in the world of sports and beyond. His skyhook, six NBA championships, and six MVP awards are a testament to his talent and hard work. He has inspired countless athletes and activists, and his legacy will continue to be celebrated for generations to come.