When we talk about the greatest players in NBA history, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a name that is often omitted or marginalized in these discussions. With five championships under his belt and the all-time leader in scoring, his career resume is unimpeachable.
His sky-hook was also arguably the most unstoppable shot we’ve ever seen. Yet, Kareem is notoriously stoic about his stature in the annals of basketball history. Furthermore, as opposed to someone like Wilt Chamberlain, who was overly-protective of his records and stats, Kareem welcomes the new generation of players who are gunning for some of his various milestones.
But that’s partially because he’s coming at it from a unique angle. Just as he’s said previously that the GOAT debate is frivolous because of the different eras everyone has played in, the same goes for the record books. In a recent interview, he explained that he isn’t worried about his records falling because of the way the circumstances add all sorts of asterisks.
“The thing is they can’t break my record. They didn’t play when I played. Actually, what we’re talking about here is total hypotheticals. It’s neat I’m there as a standard. But that’s all there is. But when you look at the game now, that game is not the one I played. The game I played isn’t the same game that Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain and George Mikan played. So everything is relative.”
In an article he wrote for The Guardian earlier this year, Kareem famously said that he was rooting for LeBron as he moved into fourth on the all-time scoring list, seeing his remarkable achievement as a “benchmark of human progress.” That’s a pretty healthy perspective.
Besides, Kareem has too many other interests to keep him occupied. He just published his 16th book, a fanfic novel about Sherlock Holmes and his enigmatic brother Mycroft, and his crusade for justice and equality is a never-ending journey with continuous twists and turns.