Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is an American retired professional basketball player. He played for 20 seasons in the NBA for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers. Abdul-Jabbar played center and had a six-time record NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP), a record 19-time NBA All-Star, a 15-time All-NBA Team member, and an 11-time NBA All-Defensive Team member. He was a member of six NBA championship teams as a player and two more as an assistant coach. Abdul-Jabbar is regarded as one of the greatest NBA players of all time.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Height and Full Bio
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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr. on 16th April 1947 in Harlem, New York City. He is 7 Feet 2 Inches tall. He was the only child of his parents; Cora Lillian, a department store price checker, and Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Sr., a transit police officer, and jazz musician. He was raised in the Dyckman Street projects in the Inwood neighborhood of Upper Manhattan. He was very tall for his age, at 9 years old he was already 5 ft 8 inches tall. In his teens, he was often depressed due to the stares and comments about his height. In his early teens, he had grown to 6 ft 8 inches.
By the time he got to high school, Abdul-Jabbar started his record-breaking basketball achievements. Under coach Jack Donohue’s tutelage he led the Power Memorial Academy team to three straight New York City Catholic championships, a 71-game winning streak, and a 79–2 overall record, which earned him the nickname “The Tower from Power.” His 2,067 total points were a New York City high school record. The team went on to win the national high school boys basketball championship when he was in 10th and 11th grade and was runner-up his senior year. During his final year, coach Donohue called him a nigger which resulted in a strained relationship between the two.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Career
Abdul-Jabbar attended the University of California, Los Angeles. At 7-foot-1-inch tall, he was relegated to the freshman team in his first year with the Bruins, because freshmen were not allowed to play varsity until 1972. On 27th November 1965, Abdul-Jabbar played in his first match during UCLA’s annual varsity–freshman exhibition game at the Bruins’ new Pauley Pavilion. The freshman team won 75–60 more points on Abdul-Jabbar’s 31 points and 21 rebounds. It was the first time a freshman team had beaten the UCLA varsity squad. The freshman team won 21–0 that year, defeating junior college and other freshman teams.
Abdul-Jabbar’s first varsity game as a sophomore was in 1966, which received national coverage. He was named”The New Superstar” after he scored 56 points in his first game, which broke the UCLA single-game record held by Gail Goodrich. Abdul-Jabbar led UCLA to an undefeated 30–0 record and a national championship. After the season, the dunk was banned in college basketball as a means to cut off his dominance. The rule was abolished at the end of the 1976–77 season. Abdul-Jabbar was a major contributor to the team’s three-year record of 88 wins and only two losses: one to the University of Houston in which he had an eye injury, and the other to crosstown rival USC who played a “stall game”.
During his college career, Abdul-Jabbar received the national player of the year three times from 1967–1969, and also received a three-time unanimous first-team All-American in those 3 years and played on three NCAA basketball champion teams. Had was commemorated as the Most Outstanding Player in the NCAA Tournament three times, and became the first-ever Naismith College Player of the Year in 1969. Abdul-Jabvar was the only player to win the Helms Foundation Player of the Year award three times.
Abdul-Jabbar made a decision not to try out for the U S Olympic basketball team so he boycotted the 1968 Summer Olympics. The United States went on to win the gold medal. Abdul-Jabbar was protesting the unequal treatment of African Americans in the United States.
Because the NBA did not permit college underclassmen to make an early NBA draft declaration, Abdul-Jabbar stayed and completed his studies, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts with a major in history in 1969.
In the 1969 NBA draft, Abdul-Jabbar was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks, who were in only their second season of existence at the time. He won several games and medals with the Bucks.
In 1975, the Lakers acquired Abdul-Jabbar from the Bucks. During his first season with the Lakers, Abdul-Jabbar had an average of 27.7 points per game and led the league in rebounding (16.9), blocked shots (4.12), and total minutes played (3,379). At the time of his retirement in 1989, Abdul-Jabbar held the record for most career games played in the NBA. He was also the record holder for most points (38,387), most field goals made (15,837), and most minutes played (57,446).
Abdul-Jabbar worked as an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Clippers and the Seattle SuperSonics. He helped mentor their young centers. In 2002, he was head coach of the Oklahoma Storm, he led the team to the league’s championship that season. He went on to work as a scout for the New York Knicks. Abdul-Jabbar returned to the Lakers as a special assistant coach to Phil Jackson for six seasons from 2005–2011. He also worked as a volunteer coach at Alchesay High School on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation in Whiteriver, Arizona, in 1998. He stopped coaching in 2013 after he failed to land the open head coach positions with UCLA and the Milwaukee Bucks.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Other Works
Abdul-Jabbar has appeared in several films, mostly as himself some of the movies include; Game of Death, Airplane!, Fletch, Troop Beverly Hills, and Forget Paris, and television series such as Full House, Living Single, Amen, Everybody Loves Raymond, Martin, Diff’rent Strokes, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Scrubs, 21 Jump Street, Emergency!, Man from Atlantis, New Girl, Tales from the Darkside, and In Living Color among others. He also featured in documentaries such as his film On the Shoulders of Giants, and Kareem: Minority of One. In 2020 he received an Emmy award nomination for his performance as executive producer and narrator of the History channel special Black Patriots: Heroes of the Revolution.
The NBA star is also a writer. His first book was his autobiography Giant Steps, written in 1983 with co-author Peter Knobler. He published many books after that mostly on African-American history. In 2018, he was announced as one of the writers for the July 2019 revival of Veronica Mars.
In 2013, Abdul-Jabbar was featured in the ABC reality series Splash, a celebrity diving competition. In 2018, he was a contestant in the all-athlete season 26 of Dancing with the Stars and partnered with dancer Lindsay Arnold.
Abdul-Jabbar is a known activist focused mainly on racial discrimination and Islamic profiling. He has also held government positions; in 2012 he was made a cultural ambassador for the United States. Abdul-Jabbar alongside Gabrielle Douglas and Carli Lloyd was appointed to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition. In 2017, Abdul-Jabbar was appointed to the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee by United States Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin.
During the summer of 1968, he took the shahada twice and converted to Sunni Islam from Catholicism. He changed his name from Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He started using his new name officially in 1971.
Abdul-Jabbar met Habiba Abdul-Jabbar (born Janice Brown) at a Lakers game in his senior year at UCLA. The two got married and had three children, Habiba, Sultana, and Kareem Jr. His son played basketball at Western Kentucky after attending Valparaiso. Abdul-Jabbar and Brown divorced in 1978. He has two other sons, Amir, who he had with Cheryl Pistono, and Adam, who made an appearance on the TV sitcom Full House with him.
He studied aikido in New York between his sophomore and the junior year before learning Jeet Kune Do under Bruce Lee in Los Angeles.
In November 2009, Abdul-Jabbar announced that he had a form of leukemia, Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. In February 2011, he made another announcement through his Twitter that his leukemia was gone and he was “100% cancer free”.
Abdul-Jabbar has received several honors for both his athletic and nonathletic work.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Net Worth
The retired basketball player is reportedly worth $25 million as of 2022.