111 Facts About Kareem Abdul-Jabbar


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was a member of six NBA championship teams as a player and two more as an assistant coach, and was twice voted the NBA Finals MVP.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was named to three NBA anniversary teams.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the NBA's career scoring leader from 1984 to 2023.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was known as Lew Alcindor when he played at parochial high school Power Memorial in New York City, where he led their team to 71 consecutive wins.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played college basketball for the UCLA Bruins, winning three consecutive national championships under head coach John Wooden.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's contributions were a key component in the Showtime era of Lakers basketball.


At the time of his retirement at age 42 in 1989, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the NBA's all-time leader in points, games played, minutes, field goals made, field goal attempts, blocked shots, defensive rebounds, and personal fouls.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar remains the all-time leader in minutes played, field goals made, and field goal attempts.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is ranked third all-time in both rebounds and blocked shots.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been an actor, a basketball coach, a best-selling author, and a martial artist, having trained in Jeet Kune Do under Bruce Lee and appeared in his film Game of Death.


In 2012, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was selected by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to be a US global cultural ambassador.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had a strained relationship in his final year with Donohue after the coach called him a nigger.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar chose to attend the University of California, Los Angeles, after being recruited by Bruins assistant coach Jerry Norman.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the only player to win the Helms Foundation Player of the Year award three times.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had considered transferring to Michigan because of unfulfilled recruiting promises.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar adopted the Arabic name Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, though he did not begin using it publicly until 1971.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar boycotted the 1968 Summer Olympics, deciding not to try out for US Olympic basketball team, who went on to easily win the gold medal.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar studied aikido in New York between his sophomore and junior year before learning Jeet Kune Do under Bruce Lee in Los Angeles.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is represented in the top ten in a number of other school records, including season and career rebounds, second only to Bill Walton.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was chosen first overall in the 1969 American Basketball Association draft by the New York Nets.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the second rookie to score at least 40 points and 25 rebounds in a playoff game, the first being Wilt Chamberlain.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar set an NBA rookie record with 10 or more games of 20+ points scored during the playoffs, tied by Jayson Tatum in 2018.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar led the league in total points, with 2,596.


In 1974, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar led the Bucks to their fourth consecutive Midwest Division title, and he won his third MVP Award in four years.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had never spoken negatively of the city of Milwaukee or its fans, but he said that being in the Midwest did not fit his cultural needs.


On March 13,1975, sportscaster Marv Albert reported that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar requested a trade to either New York or Los Angeles, preferably to the Knicks.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar helped lead the team to the best record in the NBA, and he won his fifth MVP award, tying Bill Russell's record.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who broke the same bone in 1975 after he punched the backboard support, was out for almost two months and missed 20 games.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was fined a then-league record $5,000 but was not suspended.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was not named to the 1978 NBA All-Star Game, the only time in his 20-year career he was not selected to an All-Star Game.


Amid criticism from the media over his performance, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had 39 points, 20 rebounds, six assists and four blocks in a win over the Philadelphia 76ers the day the All-Star rosters were announced.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar added 37 points and 30 rebounds in a victory over the New Jersey Nets in the final game before the All-Star break.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's play remained strong during the next two seasons, being named to the All-NBA Second Team twice, the All-Defense First Team once, and the All-Defense Second Team once.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar missed Game 6, when the Lakers clinched the title, and Johnson was named the Finals MVP after recording 42 points, 15 rebounds, and seven assists in the finale.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar continued to average 20 or more points per game in the following six seasons.


The Lakers advanced to the 1983 NBA Finals in a rematch against the 76ers, who had acquired Moses Malone to shore up their center position after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had outplayed their big-man duo of Darryl Dawkins and Caldwell Jones in the previous finals.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar received a pass from Johnson and scored from 15 feet on his patent skyhook over the 7-foot-4-inch shot-blocking expert Mark Eaton.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won his second Finals MVP in 1985, when he became the oldest to win the award at 38 years and 54 days old.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar averaged 25.7 points, 9 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.5 blocks in the series against Boston.


At the time of his retirement, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar held the record for most career games played in the NBA.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the all-time record holder for most field goals made and most minutes played, as well as most points until LeBron James broke the record in 2023.


In 1995, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar began expressing an interest in coaching and imparting knowledge from his playing days.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's opportunities were limited despite the success he enjoyed during his playing days.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had spent most of his career with a reserved attitude towards media attention before he softened up near the end of his career.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar worked as an assistant for the Los Angeles Clippers and the Seattle SuperSonics, helping mentor, among others, their young centers, Michael Olowokandi and Jerome James.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the head coach of the Oklahoma Storm of the United States Basketball League in 2002, leading the team to the league's championship that season, but he failed to land the head coaching position at Columbia University a year later.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar then worked as a scout for the New York Knicks.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar returned to the Lakers as a special assistant coach to Phil Jackson for six seasons.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar served as a volunteer coach at Alchesay High School on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation in Whiteriver, Arizona, in 1998.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar moved on from coaching in 2013 after unsuccessfully lobbying for open head coach positions with UCLA and the Milwaukee Bucks.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was selected to the NBA All-Defensive Team eleven times.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was not an aggressive rebounder, relying more on his size as a 7-footer instead of positioning.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had an even temperament, which Riley said made him coachable.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar began a year-around conditioning program at age 26.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar switched that offseason from tai chi to yoga.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar began wearing his trademark goggles after getting poked in the eye during preseason in 1975.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar continued wearing them for years until abandoning them in the 1979 playoffs.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar resumed wearing goggles in October 1980 after being accidentally poked in the right eye by Houston's Rudy Tomjanovich.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar missed three games in December 1986 due to the condition.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was well known for his trademark skyhook, a hook shot in which he raised the ball and released it at the highest point of his arm's arching motion.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's body being between the defender and the ball made it further difficult to block, as did extending his non-shooting arm to fend off opponents.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was stronger shooting the skyhook with his right hand than he was with his left, which he developed in his later years.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar watched Cliff Hagan shoot the hook with the St Louis Hawks.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar attended the game, and passed the game ball to James during the in-game ceremony after the record was broken.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar held the scoring mark for nearly 39 years, the longest span in league history.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's skyhook is considered one of the most unstoppable shots ever.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won six NBA championships and two Finals MVP awards, was voted to 15 All-NBA and 11 All-Defensive Teams, and was selected to a record 19 All-Star teams, tied by James in 2023.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was named to the NBA's 35th, 50th, and 75th anniversary teams.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar averaged 24.6 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 2.6 blocks per game.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is ranked as the NBA's third leading all-time rebounder.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the third all-time in registered blocks, which is impressive because this basketball statistic was not recorded until the fourth year of his career.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had three straight seasons where he averaged at least 30 points and 16 rebounds, and six times he averaged at least 27 points and 14.5 rebounds in the same season.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar combined dominance during his career peak with the longevity and sustained excellence of his later years.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played in 95 percent of his team's regular-season games during his career, including 80 or more games in 11 of his 20 seasons.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar earned first-team All-NBA selections that were 15 years apart and Finals MVPs 14 seasons from each other.


In 2016, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's only recognized rookie card became the most expensive basketball card ever sold when it went for $501,900 at auction.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar made his film debut in Bruce Lee's 1972 film Game of Death, in which his character Hakim fights Billy Lo.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has had numerous other television and film appearances, often playing himself.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played a genie in a lamp in a 1984 episode of Tales from the Darkside.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played himself on the February 10,1994, episode of the sketch comedy television series In Living Color.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar appeared in the television version of Stephen King's The Stand, played the Archangel of Basketball in Slam Dunk Ernest, and had a brief non-speaking cameo appearance in BASEketball.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the co-executive producer of the 1994 TV film The Vernon Johns Story.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has made appearances on The Colbert Report in a 2006 skit called "HipHopKetball II: The ReJazzebration Remix '06", and in 2008 as a stage manager who is sent out on a mission to find Nazi gold.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar voiced himself in a 2011 episode of The Simpsons titled "Love Is a Many Strangled Thing".


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had a recurring role as himself on the NBC series Guys with Kids, which aired from 2012 to 2013.


In 2021, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar made a guest appearance as himself in a season 2 episode of Dave.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar makes a cameo appearance as himself in the 2022 Netflix film Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.


In September 2018, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was announced as one of the writers for the July 2019 revival of Veronica Mars.


On February 10,2011, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar debuted his film On the Shoulders of Giants, documenting the tumultuous journey of the famed yet often-overlooked New York Renaissance professional basketball team, at Science Park High School in Newark, New Jersey.


In 2020, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the executive producer and narrator of the History channel special Black Patriots: Heroes of the Revolution.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was nominated for an Emmy Award for his narration.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar participated in the 2013 ABC reality series Splash, a celebrity diving competition.


In 1967, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the only college athlete to attend the Cleveland Summit, a meeting of prominent black athletes who convened in support of Muhammad Ali's refusal to fight in the Vietnam War.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar appeared on Meet the Press on January 25,2015, to talk about a column saying that Islam should not be blamed for the actions of violent extremists, just as Christianity has not been blamed for the actions of violent extremists who profess Christianity.


In January 2012, United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had accepted a position as a cultural ambassador for the United States.


In January 2017, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was appointed to the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee by United States Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar resigned in 2018 due to what the Mint described as "increasing personal obligations".


In 2016, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar performed a tribute to friend Muhammad Ali along with Chance the Rapper.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar purchased and donated 7700 16th Street NW, a house in Washington, DC, for Khaalis to use as the Hanafi Madh-Hab Center; a few years later, the location would become the place of the 1973 Hanafi Muslim massacre.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was invited to join the group, but he refused.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has spoken about the thinking that was behind his name change when he converted to Islam.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar suffers from migraines, and his use of cannabis to reduce the symptoms has had legal ramifications.


In November 2009, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar announced that he was suffering from a form of leukemia, Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow.


The disease was diagnosed in December 2008, but Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said his condition could be managed by taking oral medication daily, seeing his specialist every other month, and having his blood analyzed regularly.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar expressed in a 2009 press conference that he did not believe the illness would stop him from leading a normal life.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a spokesman for Novartis, the company that produces Gleevec, his cancer medication.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar partnered with Bristol Myers Squibb and Pfizer's "No Time to Wait" to raise awareness of the symptoms of the irregular and rapid heart rhythm condition which increase the risk of stroke.


In 2011, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was awarded the Double Helix Medal for his work in raising awareness for cancer research.


Also in 2011, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar received an honorary degree from New York Institute of Technology.


In 2016, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by outgoing US President Barack Obama.


In 2020, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Narrator for his work on the documentary special Black Patriots: Heroes of The Revolution.