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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor, Jr. on April 16, 1947) is an American former professional basketball player and current assistant coach. He was known as Lew Alcindor before changing his name in the fall of 1971, several years after converting to Islam.
Considered one of the greatest players of all time, the 7ft-2in (2.18 m) Abdul-Jabbar played center for UCLA from 1965-69. Later, he played professionally for the Milwaukee Bucks (1969-75) and the Los Angeles Lakers (1975-89), accumulating 38,387 points, the NBA's highest career total. He was famous for his "Skyhook" shot which was almost impossible to block because Kareem's body was between the basket and his arm, and because of his height. His on-court success was unprecedented; he won a record six Most Valuable Player Awards, played on six championship teams as a professional, and played on three NCAA championship teams under coach John Wooden as a collegian. His high school team won 72 consecutive games and his UCLA teams were an unmatched 88-2. After a then-record 20 professional seasons in the NBA, Abdul-Jabbar retired from the game in 1989. Following his success as a professional athlete, Abdul-Jabbar has become known as a successful basketball coach, author, and part-time actor.
Abdul-Jabbar played the center position and is regarded as one of the best players of all time. He is the all-time leading NBA scorer with 38,387 points, having collected six titles, six regular season MVP and two Finals MVP awards, fifteen NBA First or Second Teams, a record nineteen NBA All-Star call-ups and averaging 24.6 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.6 blocks per game. He is also the third all-time in registered blocks (3,189), which is even more impressive because this stat had not been recorded until the fourth year of his career (1974).
On offense, Abdul-Jabbar was an unstoppable low-post threat. In contrast to other low-post dominators like Wilt Chamberlain, Artis Gilmore or Shaquille O'Neal, Abdul-Jabbar was a relatively slender player, standing 7-2 but only weighing 225 lbs. However, he made up for his relative lack of bulk by showing textbook finesse and was famous for his ambidextrous skyhook shot , which defenders found impossible to block. It contributed to his high .559 field goal accuracy, making him the eighth most accurate scorer of all time and a feared clutch shooter. Abdul-Jabbar was also quick enough to run the "Showtime" fast break led by Magic Johnson and was well-conditioned, standing on the hardwood an average 36.8 minutes. In contrast to other big men, Abdul-Jabbar also could reasonably hit his free throws, finishing with a career 72% average.
On defense, Abdul-Jabbar maintained a dominant presence. He was selected to the NBA All-Defensive Team eleven times. He frustrated opponents with his superior shot-blocking ability, denying an average 2.6 shots a game.
As a teammate, Abdul-Jabbar exuded natural leadership and was affectionately called "Cap" or "Captain" by his colleagues. He was also known for his strict fitness regime, which made him one of the most durable players of all time. In the NBA, his 20 seasons and 1,560 games are performances surpassed only by fellow legend Robert Parish.
Abdul-Jabbar made the NBA's 35th and 50th Anniversary Teams and in 1996 was named one of the 50 Greatest Players of All Time.
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