Saturday, February 23, 2008


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar started a blog this year, hosted by the Los Angeles Times. Not surprisingly, it's damn good. Kareem has always been among the most thoughtful of famous athletes, and his blog is just more proof that he shouldn't be categorized just as a "famous athlete." He's one of the smartest guys around, one with the ability to comment and discuss any number of subjects with style and grace.

I'd have to say that he was my all-time favorite player. Back in the days before the Kings came to Sacramento, I was a big Lakers fan, but I started rooting for Abdul-Jabbar long before that. I remember the famous UCLA-Houston game in 1968 (I was seven years old at the time), and remember my uncle (who had spent a lot of time in Texas when he was in the service) calling my dad to give him a really hard time after Houston won that game, 71-69. Of course, Abdul-Jabbar - then Lew Alcindor - was not at his best that night, having been poked in the eye (by my California Golden Bears, no less!) in his previous game. A couple of months later, with Alcindor back and the Bruins out for blood, they embarrassed Houston in the rematch, with a blowout victory.

The picture accompanying this post is one of my favorite Kareem shot. Game 6 of the 1974 NBA Finals, in the Boston Garden against the Celtics. Double-overtime, Bucks down by one, 2 seconds left - everyone in the arena and watching on TV knows the ball is going to Kareem, so the Celtics push him WAY out on the perimeter in the hopes that he'll allow someone else to take the last shot. Fat chance of that. Double-teamed, Kareem pivoted, unleashed a 21-foot sky hook (!), nothing but net. On to Game 7 (which, alas, the Celtics won).

I suppose you could argue that Jordan surpassed the accomplishments of Abdul-Jabbar on the court - I'd argue with you about that, but concede that you might win the argument. But something tells me that we're not likely to soon see the "Michael Jordan Blog."

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