Chat Transcript: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem chatted live with fans on Wednesday.|
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar rejoins the Lakers organization for his first season as a Special Assistant Coach on Phil Jackson's staff. In his position, Abdul-Jabbar will work with Lakers players throughout the season at all home practices and help tutor and develop the team's young big men.
Originally joining the Lakers back in 1975, when Abdul-Jabbar left the game in 1989 at age 42, no NBA player had ever scored more points, blocked more shots, won more Most Valuable Player Awards, played in more All-Star Games or logged more seasons. His list of personal and team accomplishments is perhaps the most awesome in league history: Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (1995); NBA champion (1971, '80, '82, '85, '87, '88); NBA MVP (1971, '72, '74, '76, '77, '80); 10-time All-NBA First Team; Five-time All-NBA Second Team; Five-time All-Defensive First Team; Six-time All-Defensive Second Team; Rookie of the Year; 19-time All-Star; One of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History (1996). Known in Los Angeles simply as "The Captain," he was at the center of the Lakers' 1980's Showtime dynasty. Playing 14 of his 20 NBA seasons with the Lakers, the franchise retired his jersey on March 20, 1989.
Outside of basketball, Abdul-Jabbar has penned best selling books including "Black Profiles in Courage" while also appearing in feature films such as "Airplane" and "Fletch." He currently resides in Los Angeles and has three sons, Kareem Jr., Amir and Adam and two daughters, Sultana and Habiba.
Kareem dropped by Lakers.com on Wednesday to chat live with fans. Check out what he had to say about this year's Lakers team, his favorite three accomplishments and much more.
Othello, Wa.: Kareem, I am so happy to see you back in the purple and gold you made famous. My question is. What exactly will be your involvment with the players(both young and old)? I hope that with you in the mix, will improve our chances to make it further in the post season. Congrats on your new job.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: First of all thank you for your support, I really appreciate it. The Lakers fans have been great, even folks in the supermarket are welcoming me back and it's very good. As far what I can do, I hope I can help our talented young players increase their basketball IQ so they can get the best out of their abilities and help the Lakers win games.
Memphis: Mr. Abdul-Jabbar how do you think it will be like working with the Zen master Phil Jackson?
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: I think working with Phil will be a great opporutunity for me to work with one of the greatest coaches in the history of the league. It will be a good way for me to learn and observe from a guy who really knows the pro game and who has earned every accolade. I'm looking forward to it.
Mizan, Los Angeles: Why did you decide to become Lakers Assistant Coach, and what makes you feel you will be successful in helping the Lakers?
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: I've had a desire to coach now, for about 10 years and this was something I felt I should do. I know alot about the game, and I've noticed that what I learned in my time, isn't necessarily being taught now and I'd like to help impart that knowledge to a new generation of players.
will (San Diego): Kareem, Why do you think it took so long for you to get a coaching position. It's obivious you know the game. You spent over 20 years in the league.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: I think it took a long time, because initially when I stopped playing, I had accumulated some burnout, so I didn't pursue those opportunities. The disconnect lasted too long. Also, I think people got the idea I was sullen and couldn't communicate, which wasn't true and I had to overcome that. The Lakers have a young guy now, Andrew Bynum, that I think I can help in many ways, and along with the rest of the team, I'm excited about working with him.
Harrington, San Diego: Welcome back Kareem! Long time fan and fellow jazz lover! Obviously I am curious what your take on Bynum is, at this point and how long you think it will take for him to become a meaningful contributor?
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: I think Andrew is a very talented athlete. He's not what you'd call raw, he has skills, he can run the court, is agile and is very competitive. And you need those things to achieve in the NBA. He just needs to improve other parts of his game and learn how to apply himself and learn to execute. It will take a while for him to figure out when to do the right thing, and how, but I'm confident he'll get there and be a talent in this league.
Rakan (Las Vegas): hey Kareem, great to have you join the lakers staff. What do you think of the addition of kwame brown? and how will you help develop? thank you for your time
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: I think Kwame will be an asset to the Lakers. He didn't really get a chance to blossom with the Wizards, but he is only 23-years-old and he hasn't developed into the player he can be. I think time and some tutelage will help him and I think you'll see an improved player as the season progresses.
Sonny,Riverside: So will you be teacing the new centers on the team your signature sky hooks?
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Right now, I'm not going to emphasize the sky-hook as much as work with the specific skills of the guys. Andrew has a hook, and I don't know if it will look like the sky-hook, but we need to work on substance over style and I think being effective and productive in whichever shots the players put up, is the main focus.
Mike (Seoul, Korea): What did you possibly learn from your past with Bruce Lee that might influence your coaching in basketball?
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: What I learned from Bruce had to do with preparation. You must train the right way, to perform correctly on the court. And that applies to martial arts and whatever athletic pursuit, across the board.
Victor from Maryland.: Kareem, of the five Laker's NBA championships teams you played with, what team and year would you say was the best you played on ?
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 1985. That's real easy.
maurice (gardena): which defender gave you the most touble?
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: I think I did very well against everyone who tried to defend me. But Nate Thurmond did it very well and followed the rules. He was agile, tall and skilled and I have a lot of respect for him. Alot of other guys beat me up and fouled me, and then said they played tough defense. But Nate was a guy who defended me by the rules.
Mike (Los Angeles): One of the major reasons the Lakers of the 80's were so successful was the trust and friendship exhibited both on and off the court. This is something that was obviously not present the last few years. Do you think this new Laker team will have the camaraderie they will need to become a winning team?
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: I'm sure we will build the family atmosphere needed to have a winning team and the proper team spirit. We don't have selfish guys here, which sometimes leads to problems. And as coaches, fostering the a proper team spirit is something we will focus on, but I think we have the guys here where we can be successful in that regard.
Cromwell (Bakersfield, CA): Kareem, you are my favorite center of all time. for me you are the best there ever was. with so many accomplishments in the hardcourt, which 3 are above the rest? thank you!
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Well, let's see. Beating Celtics in 1985, winning three straight NCAA championships with UCLA and also winning three straight high school championships with Power Memorial in New York City. It's all about your team winning championships and those three feats tend to stand out.
Patrick (Glendale): Hi Kareem. Do you think centers have a harder time than guards to be taken seriously as coaches or head coaches? It seems that guards are considered more cerebral and centers are thought to all about physical talent. I think that center is the toughest position to play mentally.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Center is a very tough position to play. I don't think any one position is tougher than the other, but center like other spots is a tough position to play. As a coach you have teach and understand what it takes to win, and to convey that to your team, and no matter what position you played as a player, if you can't do those things, you won't coach well.
Steve (Los Angeles): How well do you know the triangle? Did the 80's Lakers run any similar offensive sets?
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: We did not run the triangle offense in the 80s, but when I was in Milwaukee we played that offense, Larry Costello was a proponent. So I am familiar with it and look forward to helping the players with it.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: I just want to thank everyone who has offered their support to me. It's really been a shot in the arm from the Lakers fans and NBA fans in general. I will take a little risk here, but I will warn NBA fans that the Lakers will be back in the playoffs next year competing for a championship.