Master Of The Sky Hook
On this date in 1942 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was born Lew Alcindor in New York City. Kareem is one of a handful of players to win a championship on the high school, college, and NBA levels. In high school, he led Power Memorial Academy to three straight New York City Catholic championships, a 71-game winning streak, and a 79–2 overall record. He scored 2067 points in his high school career and the city all time leading scorer until his record was broken by Kenny Anderson.
He played for the UCLA Bruins from 1966 to 1969 under coach John Wooden, contributing to the team's three-year record of 88 wins and only two losses. During his college career he was twice named Player of the Year (1967, 1969), was a three-time First Team All-American (1967-69), played on three NCAA Basketball champion teams (1967, 1968, 1969), was honored as the Most Outstanding Player in the NCAA Tournament (1967, 1968, 1969), and became the first-ever Naismith College Player of the Year in 1969. The dunk was banned in college basketball after the 1967 season, primarily because of his dominant use of the shot.
He was awarded the title of NBA Rookie of the Year after being drafted first by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1969, only in their second season in the league. The day after the Bucks won the NBA championship in 1971, he adopted the muslim name Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and no longer went by his birth name Lew Alcindor. He would go on to win six NBA Most Valuable Player Awards in his career.
In 1975, the Lakers acquired Abdul-Jabbar and reserve center Walt Wesley from the Bucks for center Elmore Smith, guard Brian Winters, and rookie "blue chippers" Dave Meyers and Junior Bridgeman. In the 1975-76 season, Jabbar's first season with Los Angeles, Abdul-Jabbar had a dominating season, averaging 27.7 points per game and leading the league in rebounding, blocked shots, and minutes played. His 1,111 defensive rebounds remains the NBA single-season record. He earned his fourth MVP award.
In 1979, the Lakers acquired 1st overall draft pick Earvin "Magic" Johnson. The trade and draft paved the way for a second Abdul-Jabbar dynasty as the Lakers went on to become the most dominant team of the 1980s, appearing in the finals eight times and winning five NBA championships. Individually, while Jabbar was not the dominant center he was in the 1970s, he experienced a number of highlight moments. Among them were his record sixth MVP award in 1980, four more All-NBA First Team designations, two more All-Defense First Team designations, the 1985 Finals MVP, and on April 5, 1984 breaking Wilt Chamberlain's record for career points. On June 28, 1989, after twenty professional seasons, Abdul-Jabbar announced his retirement. He is still the NBA all time leader in points.