It’s hard for a certain generation of basketball fans to remember how regal and dominating Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was during his 20-year Hall-of-Fame career. The stalwart Bucks and Lakers center won six MVP awards and was named Finals MVP 14 years apart (1971 and 1985). Perhaps the best way to show young fans how the man most Lakers players referred to as simply, “Cap,” conducted himself on the court, is to show you a clip of a young Michael Jordan swooping along the baseline in an attempt to dunk on the man who blocked the third-most shots in NBA history.
Last week Kareem turned 67, so he’s already been old enough to collect social security for a couple years now. Ironically, the veteran Kareem was just as surly when he graduated from UCLA in 1969 and whose placid countenance and no-nonsense attitude kept reporters and fans at bay for the entirety of his career.
Perhaps it was Jabbar’s tranquil bearing on the court, and gruff attitude on and off the court, which persuaded a young MJ to head baseline in what we now know was a misguided attempt to thump the ball down on the 7-2 Lakers center.
Kareem didn’t block the shot, MJ was too high at that point and Kareem too old, but Jabbar had no issues simply planting his rail-thin frame in MJ’s path to prevent any such posters from being captured.
Jordan went on to become the GOAT for many — though not, apparently, for Brandon Jennings — and put most of his peers in the 1980s and 90s on a poster. Still, he wasn’t able to throw it down on the aged and austere Kareem on this play, and it’s a nice reminder, so soon after his birthday, that “Murdock” wasn’t a man you wanted to trifle with.
Favorite Kareem memory?
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