Click here to Skip to main content
NBA HISTORY
kareem-skyhook-608.jpg
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar nailed a patented sky-hook to become the NBA's career scoring leader on April 5, 1984.
Bill Baptist/NBAE/Getty Images

Familiar weapon helps Abdul-Jabbar set NBA scoring mark


Posted Mar 4 2013 4:31PM

The setting for one of the NBA's historic moments was unusual, indeed: the Thomas and Mack Center on the campus of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, where the Utah Jazz played a few of their "home" games during the 1980s in an effort to attract new fans.

But if the setting was strange, the shot that made Kareem Abdul-Jabbar the NBA's career scoring leader on April 5, 1984, was familiar indeed: a graceful, high-arching sky-hook from the baseline, the shot that had become his trademark in a long and successful career.

Magic Johnson set up the basket, feeding the ball to Abdul-Jabbar in the low post. That was appropriate, since Johnson's arrival in Los Angeles in 1979 had seemed to give a boost to Abdul-Jabbar's career. The veteran fed off the rookie's energy, and the result was a championship in 1980, the first of five the pair would share in the 1980s.

Abdul-Jabbar caught the entry pass with Utah's 7-4 Mark Eaton behind him. He faked to his right, toward the lane, and Eaton leaned just enough in that direction to take himself out of the play. Kareem whirled in the opposite direction, toward the left baseline, and as Eaton struggled to recover, he leaped off his left foot toward the basket, his right arm stretched high above his head as he released one of the greatest weapons in sports history. The sky-hook rolled off his fingers and nestled through the net, raising his career scoring total to 31,420, one point more than Wilt Chamberlain's NBA record.

Abdul-Jabbar went on to complete his 20-year NBA career in 1988-89 with 38,387 points in regular season play, 5,762 points in the playoffs and 251 points in All-Star Games -- all NBA career records.

SEARCH NEWS
LATEST VIDEOS
photo2014-15 Kings Team Preview
Sekou Smith takes a look a the Sacramento Kings - where DeMarcus Cousins will looked at to take the next step in his development.
photo2014-15 Timberwolves Team Preview
Sekou Smith examines the new-look Timberwolves this season, with Ricky Rubio possibly living a point guard's dream with athletic running mates surrounding him.
photo2014-15 Warriors Team Preview
Sekou Smith examines the Golden State Warriors - where new coach Steve Kerr has a chance to lead a team of potential superstars deeper into the Playoffs.
photoDirk Denied by Carter
Dirk Nowitzki attempts the dunk but former teammate Vince Carter is there at the rim to deny him.
photoAl Jefferson: Big Man, Big Effort
After 10 years in the league and a 3rd Team All-NBA selection last season, the fire is still burning inside Al Jefferson of the Charlotte Hornets -- and he's been working hard to make sure he's as strong as ever for the start of the new season.

Copyright © NBA Media Ventures, LLC. All rights reserved. No portion of NBA.com may be duplicated, redistributed or manipulated in any form. By accessing any information beyond this page, you agree to abide by the Privacy Policy / Your California Privacy Rights and Terms of Use. | Ad Choices Ad Choices

NBA.com is part of Turner Sports Digital, part of the Turner Sports & Entertainment Digital Network.