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Encyclopedia > Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (born April 16, 1947 in New York City, New York) was a successful high school, collegiate, and professional basketball player. Born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor (usually known as Lew Alcindor) in New York City, he was a center who grew to 7'2" (2.18 m) tall. He led Power Memorial Academy to three straight New York City Catholic championships and a 71-game winning streak. He played for UCLA from 1967 to 1969. During his time on the team, UCLA lost only two games. He was the number one 1969 NBA Draft pick. After graduating from UCLA, he played for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers. While at UCLA Abdul-Jabbar converted to Islam. He took his Arabic name in 1971, publicly announcing it on May 1 of that year, one day after the Bucks completed a four-game sweep of the Baltimore Bullets (known today as the Washington Wizards) in the NBA Finals. However, he has repeatedly denied any connections to the Nation of Islam, having been converted by a Turkish imam of the Hanafi school of thought, under whom he studied at UCLA.

At UCLA, he suffered a scratched left eyeball; from then on, he mostly played wearing goggles.

Abdul-Jabbar was famous for his sky hook shot, which was notoriously hard to defend against. He was also notable for his physical fitness regimen. He retired from the game in 1989 after 20 seasons. Little known fact is that he is a pupil of the Kung Fu Master - Bruce Lee, under whom he studied Jeet Kune Do.


  • Games Played - 1560 (2nd Highest in NBA history)
  • Field Goal % - 55.9 (8th Highest)
  • Free Throw % - 72.1
  • 3-Point % - 5.6
  • Rebounds - 17,440 (3rd Highest)
  • Rebounds per Game - 11.2 (25th Highest)
  • Assists - 5660 (29th Highest)
  • Assist per Game - 3.6
  • Steals - 1160
  • Steals per Game -
  • Blocks - 3189 (2nd Highest)
  • Blocks per Game - 2.57
  • Points - 38,387 (Highest)
  • Points per Game - 24.6 (12th Highest)


  • College Player of the Year (1967, 1969)
  • Elected to Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (1995)
  • Played on NCAA champion teams (1967, 1968, 1969)
  • Most Outstanding Player in NCAA Tournament (1967, 1968, 1969)
  • Played on NBA champion teams (1971, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988)
  • NBA MVP (1971, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1980) (a record 6 times)
  • NBA Final MVP (1971, 1985)
  • Sports Illustrated magazine's "Sportsman of the Year" (1985)
  • NBA Rookie of the Year (1970)
  • One of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History (1996)

Playing for the Lakers allowed Jabbar to try his hand at acting: In 1980, he participated as the co-pilot in the movie Airplane!. He had numerous other TV and film roles.

He is also a best-selling author, the latest of his books being Brothers In Arms (ISBN 0385503385), the history of an all-black tank squadron.

Abdul-Jabbar has a prescription to smoke marijuana in the state of California, the result of nausea-inducing migraine headaches [1] (http://www.cleartest.com/testinfo/kareem.htm).



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