Cap's Corner - 9/20/10

Cap's Corner by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Among the many lessons you learned from Coach Wooden, is there a particular life lesson that stands out in your mind that he imparted to you?
KAJ:
I have benefitted the most from the way Coach Wooden taught about being prepared. His coaching style was one the emphasized intense preparation for what his team could do and achieve. It made us understand that our concern should be about what we control and not to worry about what the other team was about.


Was there a particular basketball lesson that you learned from him that carried through to the rest of your career?
KAJ:
Coach Wooden always emphasized being in shape. It was the most fundamental preparation that effected your ability to perform. So being in shape was the key was the key to being able to execute the important parts of the game.


While you were with the Lakers, the team twice won back-to-back titles. Was there something different in going for a third title in a row as compared to winning back-to-back championships?
KAJ:
I didn't find winning 3 titles was any different from winning 2.


Did the 3 championships you won in college help mentally prepare you for coming back and defending an NBA title?
KAJ:
My college experience enabled me to know what it took for an individual and a team to be able to get to the top.


What did it mean to you to enter the basketball Hall of Fame?
KAJ:
For me entering the Hall of Fame was a final and casting confirmation that I had put together a significant career on professional basketball. Along the way, there were achievements that spoke to what I was achieving on the court but those moments came during my career when I was still actively involved in making my mark in the NBA. The Hall of Fame to me comes after you have been on the sideline for 5 years and you've seen the impact of what you did on the court in a much more detailed perspective. You appreciate all the help you received along the way and the way that the competition helped you to be at your best. The time to reflect really helps you to understand how great the game is and how fortunate you are to have the chance to be a part of that game.


Does it mean anything different to you now, reflecting on it?
KAJ:
In the time that I have had to reflect on entering the Hall of Fame I have learned about how the game affects people in ways that you didn't understand while you were playing the game. The way that people are inspired and entertained by the game and the people that play it.


What does it mean to have had so many teammates also inducted into the Hall of Fame?
KAJ:
Having teammates inducted into the Hall of Fame makes you see you lucky you were to have teammates whose skills complimented yours. When that is the case, you are able to have success. One player using his skills enables another player to shine and visa versa. Teamwork is contagious and is always a crowd pleaser.


How was your relationship with Dr. Buss when you were a player? Was it different from your relationship with other owners with the Bucks and Lakers?
KAJ:
My relationship with Dr. Buss was not a very close one while I played for the Lakers. It was not distant but I felt that he was very much into his friends and lifestyle and that kept us from getting to be close. I always felt that Dr. Buss was generous and fair to the players and appreciated the respect he showed when it was time to deal with the players.