Cap's Corner - 10/05/10

Cap's Corner by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Have you been to London and/or Barcelona? Could you share your impressions of each city?
I have visited Barcelona and London. My first visit to Barcelona was this past Spring and I had a wonderful time, it is a very gracious and cultured city. The Cathedral of the Holy Family (La Sagrada Familia) was a fantastic structure and even though it is still under construction it has a presence that is undeniably awesome. The citizens of Barcelona were very hospitable and totally supportive and knowledgeable with regard to the Career of Pau Gasol. London is one of my favorite cities and I have revisited it at least 8 to 10 times. Because our nation was at one time an English Colony, there is an immediate connection. I am also a fan of Rudyard Kipling and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Dickens. It is a thrill to walk the same streets that they describe in their writings. as a student of history, the Tower of London and Houses of Parliament have their appeal also. Being in Europe and having the ability to speak the language of the country you’re visiting is comforting.

Did any of the teams you were on take extended pre-season trips, like the trips to Europe that teams now take?
None of the teams I played for took an extended pre season trip but I think that it is a great way to show off the NBA game.

If so, did the extra travel required for such a trip have an impact on the team early in the season in any way?
I don’t think the extra travel would have much impact on the team.

When you played, foreign players were still very much a rarity in the NBA. Could you have anticipated how much the game has grown internationally, or how many foreign players are now succeeding in the league?
I for one could never have anticipated the popularity that basketball now enjoys worldwide, but I think the game is very easy to understand and that it has tremendous potential to attract fans and players worldwide.

Has Pau Gasol surpassed Dirk Nowitzki for the unofficial title of “Best European Player?”
I am very biased as I am totally a Pau fan. His career with the Lakers has definitely moved him to the head of the class of European players.

Are there parts of the international game that you’d like to see imparted into NBA basketball, such as the ability to tip the ball off or into the rim?
I am very much a traditionalist when it comes to basketball rules. I don’t like the way players are now allowed to “walk” with the ball and “carry” the ball when they dribble. I guess I am old school and set in my ways.