Pat Riley compares the careers of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James
Pat Riley enjoyed a career of such longevity that he was able to rub shoulders with Kareem Abdul Jabbar (as opponent then coach) and LeBron James (as president of the Heat).
Suddenly, with the last named melting like an arrow on the record of the first named, the former slicked back coach of the Knicks and the Heat necessarily has interesting things to say, on the insane parallel which links KAJ to LeBron. From one icon to another…
« Kareem was never a potential, he was always a great player »establishes Riley at the outset on AP. » It was evident. When you are a great player from high school, then at university, then in the pros… There are few players like that. A handful. Two handles at best! »
“When you think of all the points Kareem has scored, and what, with what, a 3-point shot? »
In his 20th season, LeBron James is only 89 points off KAJ’s all-time record. With the Lakers playing the Pacers tonight, then the Pelicans this Saturday, before hosting the Thunder next Tuesday, it seems that the King could wink at fate, beating this record against the Bucks (the first team of Jabbar) next Thursday.
A prospect that does not scare the legendary pivot of the Lakers, who is on the contrary delighted to see someone else take over.
« When I broke Wilt Chamberlain’s record in 1984, the year LeBron was born, it bothered Wilt, who had had a one-sided rivalry with me, with all the success I had in the NBA. But I don’t feel that way about LeBron. Not only do I want to celebrate this accomplishment, but I want to unequivocally praise its qualities. »
If their personal relationship really only sticks to the courtesies of use, the two men still have a lot in common: they both acted for social justice and against racial inequalities, they both played twenty seasons in the NBA and the two men wore (or will wear) the Lakers tunic when they became the best scorer in history!
« We must always recognize those who preceded us, those who paved the way », explains Darvin Ham. “When you think of all the points Kareem has scored, and what, with what, a 3-point shot? Think about that, it makes you think, and today’s kids are getting to know another era. It’s a very high-level education in basketball, especially NBA basketball. »
« I hope people realize Kareem’s journey »
At their meeting in Hawaii last summer, the Lakers welcomed Abdul-Jabbar with fanfare, just like when he broke his new record in 1984! And the pivot, currently 75 years old, has obviously enjoyed his stay in the tropics…
« He was touched by this welcome because he was apart, he is apart », Riley continues. “He was treated like a patriarch by all the players. It was a great week for him. He was involved, he participated in everything we did and gave spontaneous speeches. Although he is shy. But he was very comfortable with our group. »
A tutelary figure in the NBA since his arrival on the pro courts near Milwaukee in 1969, after four years of unchallenged domination with UCLA, Lew Alcindor, who became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar after his conversion to Islam, laid the foundations of the modern basketball in many ways.
A royal road in which engulfed “The Chosen One”, soon crowned “King James”.
“Now it’s LeBron’s turn, and that’s only to be expected, with his unique career and the opportunity to become the all-time leading scorer. The preparation, the trips, the personal chefs, the individual trainers, all of that has been in place since Kareem. I hope people realize Kareem’s story and how different it is [de celle de LeBron] », concludes Riley. « He was in college for four years when LeBron came in from high school. But they were both dominant from day one. They were both great players right from the start. »
|Kareem Abdul Jabbar||Percentage||Bounces|