Heroes Villains & Icons

Words seem to fail me at this present moment in time. I was deeply shocked read and then hear that former Los Angeles Lakers’ great Kareem Abdul Jabbar had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Though the prognosis is said to be good for the former player.As many sufferers from this debilitating illness can lead productive lives ,given the right form of prescriptive medication and the usual healthy diet. This form of cancer – myeloid leukemia affects the white blood cells within one’s system and is characterized by the growth in the body’s bone marrow diminishing the blood cells usefulness to the human body. In large part your white blood cells become accelerated , damaged by being over productive ,counteracting your red blood cells.

A young Lew Alcindor  listens  attentively  to his  coach  and mentor  John Wooden    on  the  Bruins  famed  basketball  court

A young Lew Alcindor (Jabbar) listens attentively to his coach and mentor John Wooden on the Bruins’ famed basketball court.picture appears courtesy time life inc/archives/ Rudy West ……………

For the 62 year old Jabbar, this comes as a shock after years of countless physical demands being placed on his body over a 20 year career in the NBA.Not to mention the illustrious collegiate career that he had under coach,John Wooden, with the ,UCLA Bruins. A three-time NCAA basketball champion with the coach. And a a collegiate career that was marked by some tremendous achievements by Kareem with coach Wooden as his guide and mentor. One doubts that two individuals so alike, were more suited for one another. They both had a passion and a reverence of basketball, marked by the success achieved by both men.

For Kareem the help of his familial unit will no doubt prove to be of great strength to him as he battles this illness . And if anything he will be fully supported by the fans and his peers alike. He , in Kareem Abdul Jabbar , one of the most gifted and respected players of his generation. And even in today’s environment of the high priced, overpaid prima-donna athletes. Jabbar represents a player of a bygone era. Though he hasn’t been without controversy over the course of his career because of his religious and social beliefs. I certainly think that Kareem is one of those players that best highlights the strengths and virtues of the game of basketball. And though,in the present generation of today’s players. There’s no one of his precocious talents or gifts playing today’s game in terms of the cerebral presence and who shares the same mindset. Though a comparison could be made with the San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan ? Both of whom bring a cerebral approach to the game and how it ought to be played.OK, so there are some of you out there saying,what about Kobe Bryantor LeBron James ? Well,Kobe and LeBron at present, are still mapping out their legacies and if anything they’re more often than not ,intent and all too willing to provide us with a human highlight reel. Whereas, Kareem was known to be an explosive offensive presence and a terrific shot blocker and defensive player. The traits that he shares with Duncan are distinctly similar and their intelligence and eloquence is off the charts.

Courtesy of CBS News :

Kareem Abdul Jabar’s ” Message of Hope

Battling Rare Form of Leukemia, Basketball Legend Says He Intends to “Continue Living”

(CBS) When you’ve spent your life as one of the best basketball players who ever lived – winning championships in high school, in college and in the pros, scoring more points than anyone else and immortalized in sports history and on film – you don’t expect to come suddenly face-to-face with your mortality.

“I started having hot flashes and sweats,” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar told CBS News correspondent Jeff Greenfield. “And I wasn’t a candidate for menopause, you know? So, trying to figure out what that was all about.”

In the middle of a busy life – best-selling author, special coach for the L.A. Lakers, parent – Abdul-Jabbar learned last December that he had a rare form of cancer.

“What I have is P.H. positive chronic myeloid leukemia, which is an aberration in your white blood cells,” Abdul-Jabbar said.

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Success as we know can be fleeting and in the realms of sports our heroes, icons and villains are judged by the success, notoriety and adulation attained. But it’s also marked by what’s achieved by way of tangibility. And that’s where there has been an abundance of success for Kareem Abdul Jabbar. His accolades reads likes a well documented biographical feats of the game of basketball. One can savor the moments of greatness that he’s provided not only for Bruins’ fans but also fans of the Milwaukee Bucks, as well as those of the “Showtime Lakers”, coached under the auspices of Pat Riley.

Kareem   in  a  memorable scene  from the  movie  Airplane  . A monumental  hit at the  box  office  that would  provide  Kareem  with  other  roles along  the way.

Kareem seen here in a memorable scene from the box office hit ” Airplane “(1980) . The classic comedic hit would provide the former pro basketball player with some added roles along the way in Hollywood. picture appears courtesy of imdb.com/movies/Airplane

And whilst nothing ought to be taken away from the achievements of Kareem on the court. His life off court has proven to be immeasurably fulfilling. Perhaps, even more so, in light of his social, political and philanthropic efforts over the years. Upon his retirement he’s made it a point to emphasize fulfillment of achieving an education . But perhaps his most glittering achievement has been his work amongst the Native American Indians and that of his literary career as an esteemed writer and historical biographer. Having written several bestselling literary works, pre and post NBA career. And it would be remiss not to spotlight his foray into Hollywood, where he achieved a modicum of success .

The famous final scenes from the action movie Game of Death ,starring Bruce Lee. Kareem played Lee’s nemesis and these scenes were said to be physically daunting for the duo at the time. And you can well understand why the scenes are considered to be an instant classic amongst martial arts enthusiasts !

In Hollywood , perhaps his most famous role was that of co-pilot Captain Roger Murdock in the box office hit disaster movie spoof “Airplane” (1980). He also played Bruce Lee‘s ruthless nemesis, an assassin in the action movie “Game of Death”(1978). It was to be Lee’s last movie and starring role. As he died tragically prior to the movie’s end of shooting. Scenes had to be re-shot with another actor bearing Lee’s likeness shooting those scenes. after-wards from a medical complication.

The  penultimate   scene  from   the  movie  as Kareem meets his  demise  at  the  hands   of Lee in the  movie -  Game  Of Death

The penultimate scene from the movie as as Kareem meets his demise at the hands of Lee’s character Billy Lo from the movie ‘Game of Death’. picture appears courtesy of arthouse images copyrighted material @ All rights reserved ……….

Kareem now serves as an assistant within the Los Angeles Lakers‘ organization at the behest of Lakers’ head coach, Phil Jackson. Whilst there , he’s honing the technique of Lakers’ starting center Andrew Bynum . As well assisting in the coaching duties of several other players on the Lakers’ roster.And if Bynum lives up to the premise expected under the tutelage of Kareem. Then Andrew Bynum will have felt privileged to have learned from the greatest player ever to have played the position. And though he was primarily seen as an offensive presence. He was quite often the facilitator for those around him as well.

The Holy  Trinity  of  The  Showtime  Lakers  Kareem ,  Magic  and   Worthy

The Holy Trinity of ‘The Showtime Lakers’ -Kareem, Worthy and Magic. Pictured from left to right, Kareem, James Worthy and Magic Johnson . picture appears courtesy of poston images/ Stan Richardson ………….

In the annals of the Lakers’ history , Kareem will go down with the very best to have donned the ‘Purple and Gold’ . His accomplishments speaks for themselves and one has only to look at the feats achieved by this prodigious player to see why he’s considered amongst the 50 Greatest Players ever to have played the game. And of the other accolades attained by Kareem Abdul Jabbar , well, those also justify and speak of his greatness as a player. So without much else to be said , I’ll end this piece by just saying thank you Kareem for providing us the most devoted of NBA fans with so many pleasurable memories ! You sir a hero and an icon ! Even if you did play a somewhat memorable villain on film. Thank you , for everything and so much more along the way !

Accolades and accomplishments of Kareem Abdul Jabbar .

Full Name: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Formerly known as: Lew Alcindor
Born: 4/16/47 in New York
High School: Power Memorial (N.Y.) College: UCLA
Drafted by: Milwaukee Bucks (1969)
Transactions: Traded to Los Angeles Lakers, 6/16/75

Height: 7-2; Weight: 267 lbs.
Honors: 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; 19-time All-Star; One
of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History (1996).

CAREER AVERAGES
REBOUNDS PER GAME
YEAR TEAM G GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% OFF DEF RPG APG SPG BPG TO PF PPG
69-70 MIL 82 – 43.1 .518 .000 .653 – – 14.50 4.1 – – – 3.50 28.8
70-71 MIL 82 82 40.1 .577 .000 .690 – – 16.00 3.3 – – – 3.20 31.7
71-72 MIL 81 81 44.2 .574 .000 .689 – – 16.60 4.6 – – – 2.90 34.8
72-73 MIL 76 76 42.8 .554 .000 .713 – – 16.10 5.0 – – – 2.70 30.2
73-74 MIL 81 81 43.8 .539 .000 .702 3.50 11.00 14.50 4.8 1.38 3.49 – 2.90 27.0
74-75 MIL 65 64 42.3 .513 .000 .763 3.00 11.00 14.00 4.1 1.00 3.26 – 3.20 30.0
75-76 LA 82 82 41.2 .529 .000 .703 3.30 13.50 16.90 5.0 1.45 4.12 – 3.60 27.7
76-77 LA 82 82 36.8 .579 .000 .701 3.20 10.00 13.30 3.9 1.23 3.18 – 3.20 26.2
77-78 LA 62 62 36.5 .550 .000 .783 3.00 9.90 12.90 4.3 1.66 2.98 3.35 2.90 25.8
78-79 LA 80 80 39.5 .577 .000 .736 2.60 10.20 12.80 5.4 .95 3.95 3.53 2.90 23.8
79-80 LA 82 81 38.3 .604 .000 .765 2.30 8.50 10.80 4.5 .99 3.41 3.62 2.60 24.8
80-81 LA 80 80 37.2 .574 .000 .766 2.50 7.80 10.30 3.4 .74 2.85 3.11 3.10 26.2
81-82 LA 76 76 35.2 .579 .000 .706 2.30 6.40 8.70 3.0 .83 2.72 3.03 2.90 23.9
82-83 LA 79 79 32.3 .588 .000 .749 2.10 5.40 7.50 2.5 .77 2.15 2.53 2.80 21.8
83-84 LA 80 80 32.8 .578 .000 .723 2.10 5.20 7.30 2.6 .69 1.79 2.76 2.60 21.5
84-85 LAL 79 79 33.3 .599 .000 .732 2.10 5.80 7.90 3.2 .80 2.05 2.49 3.00 22.0
85-86 LAL 79 79 33.3 .564 .000 .765 1.70 4.40 6.10 3.5 .85 1.65 2.57 3.10 23.4
86-87 LAL 78 78 31.3 .564 .333 .714 1.90 4.80 6.70 2.6 .63 1.24 2.38 3.10 17.5
87-88 LAL 80 80 28.9 .532 .000 .762 1.50 4.50 6.00 1.7 .60 1.15 1.99 2.70 14.6
88-89 LAL 74 74 22.9 .475 .000 .739 1.40 3.10 4.50 1.0 .51 1.15 1.28 2.60 10.1
Career 1,560 1,476 36.8 .559 .056 .721 2.40 7.60 11.20 3.6 .94 2.57 1.71 3.00 24.6
Playoff 237 237 37.3 .533 .000 .740 2.60 6.50 10.50 3.2 .96 2.43 2.64 3.40 24.3
All-Star 18 13 24.9 .493 .000 .820 2.20 5.60 8.30 2.8 .40 2.07 2.55 3.20 13.9

CAREER TOTALS
REBOUNDS
YEAR TEAM MIN FGM-A 3M-A FTM-A OFF DEF TOT AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
69-70 MIL 3,534 938-1,810 0-0 485-743 – – 1,190 337 – – – 283 2,361
70-71 MIL 3,288 1,063-1,843 0-0 470-681 – – 1,311 272 – – – 264 2,596
71-72 MIL 3,583 1,159-2,019 0-0 504-732 – – 1,346 370 – – – 235 2,822
72-73 MIL 3,254 982-1,772 0-0 328-460 – – 1,224 379 – – – 208 2,292
73-74 MIL 3,548 948-1,759 0-0 295-420 287 891 1,178 386 112 283 – 238 2,191
74-75 MIL 2,747 812-1,584 0-0 325-426 194 718 912 264 65 212 – 205 1,949
75-76 LA 3,379 914-1,728 0-0 447-636 272 1,111 1,383 413 119 338 – 292 2,275
76-77 LA 3,016 888-1,533 0-0 376-536 266 824 1,090 319 101 261 – 262 2,152
77-78 LA 2,265 663-1,205 0-0 274-350 186 615 801 269 103 185 208 182 1,600
78-79 LA 3,157 777-1,347 0-0 349-474 207 818 1,025 431 76 316 282 230 1,903
79-80 LA 3,143 835-1,383 0-1 364-476 190 696 886 371 81 280 297 216 2,034
80-81 LA 2,976 836-1,457 0-1 423-552 197 624 821 272 59 228 249 244 2,095
81-82 LA 2,677 753-1,301 0-3 312-442 172 487 659 225 63 207 230 224 1,818
82-83 LA 2,554 722-1,228 0-2 278-371 167 425 592 200 61 170 200 220 1,722
83-84 LA 2,622 716-1,238 0-1 285-394 169 418 587 211 55 143 221 211 1,717
84-85 LAL 2,630 723-1,207 0-1 289-395 162 460 622 249 63 162 197 238 1,735
85-86 LAL 2,629 755-1,338 0-2 336-439 133 345 478 280 67 130 203 248 1,846
86-87 LAL 2,441 560-993 1-3 245-343 152 371 523 203 49 97 186 245 1,366
87-88 LAL 2,308 480-903 0-1 205-269 118 360 478 135 48 92 159 216 1,165
88-89 LAL 1,695 313-659 0-3 122-165 103 231 334 74 38 85 95 196 748
Career 57,446 15,837-28,307 1-18 6,712-9,304 2,975 9,394 17,440 5,660 1,160 3,189 2,527 4,657 38,387
Playoff 8,851 2,356-4,422 0-4 1,050-1,419 505 1,273 2,481 767 189 476 447 797 5,762
All-Star 449 105-213 0-1 41-50 33 84 149 51 6 31 28 57 251

To read Kareem’s bio in full click here …….

NB: Books written or co-authored by Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Abdul-Jabbar is also a bestselling author, the latest of his books being On the Shoulders of Giants: My Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance. His previous book, co-written with Anthony Walton, was Brothers In Arms: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion, WWII’s Forgotten Heroes (Publisher: Broadway 2004, ISBN 0-385-50338-5), the history of the 761st Battalion, an all-black armored unit that served in Europe in World War Two.

Other books:

* Giant Steps, with Peter Knobler (1987) ISBN 0-553-05044-3 (The book’s title is an homage to jazz great John Coltrane.)
* Kareem (1990) ISBN 0-394-55927-4
* Selected from Giant Steps (Writers’ Voices) (1999) ISBN 0-7857-9912-5
* Black Profiles in Courage: A Legacy of African-American Achievement, with Alan Steinberg (1996) ISBN 0-688-13097-6
* A Season on the Reservation: My Sojourn with the White Mountain Apaches, with Stephen Singular (2000) ISBN 0-688-17077-3
* Brothers in Arms: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion, WWII’s Forgotten Heroes with Anthony Walton (2005) ISBN 978-0767909136
* On the Shoulders of Giants: My Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance with Raymond Obstfeld (2007) ISBN 978-1416534884

Audio Book:

* On the Shoulders of Giants: An Audio Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance 8 CD Set Vol. 1-4, with Avery Brooks, Jesse L. Martin, Maya Angelou, Herbie Hancock, Billy Crystal, Charles Barkley, James Worthy, Julius Erving, Jerry West, Clyde Drexler, Bill Russell, Coach John Wooden, Stanley Crouch, Quincy Jones and other chart-topping musicians, as well as legendary actors and performers such as Samuel L. Jackson. (2008) ISBN 978-0-615-18301-5

Author: tophatal ...........

An avid sports' fans that's all !!!!!

14 thoughts on “Heroes Villains & Icons”

    1. Bobby Gee

      In this day and age there are to few many athletes that the young kids of today can really go out there and look up as being a real role model in the true sense of the word ! Kareem Abdul Jabbar just happens to be one of those and he appears to be amongst the last of a dying breed .

      Hopefully over the ensuing years they’ll find a cure for this debilitating illness ! He was truly one of the alltime greats of the game . As evidenced by his career record and undeniably fantastic achievements. But if anything his post career resume’ shouldn’t all be overlooked. His philanthropic and social activities are just as impressive .

      Alan Parkins

      Like

  1. Too sad….from what I have heard is a good dude…I’ve said this before…….we go to the moon but can’t cure some dang illnesses!! Hope he can kick the disease.

    Like

    1. al clements

      With the prescribed medication he’s taking he can still lead a normal productive life. Thankfully this isn’t a form of cancer wherein the prescribed treatment needed is chemotherapy.

      As to Kareem’s post NBA career , thankfully he’s been productive and not ended up like idiots such as Antoine Walker or Latrell Sprewell , in trouble with the law and financially bankrupt.

      Kareem overwhelmingly has been one of the few constants in the NBA that has made the game so amazing and pleasurable.

      Alan Parkins

      Like

    1. BleedLakersPnG

      It’s at times like this one has to question where or not there is truly an almighty being ? Though Kareem’s situation isn’t dire it does put into perspective how little we actually know about this disease we term ” cancer”.

      Alan Parkins

      Like

  2. Hey Al,
    I have the feeling Kareem still has a long way to go before he sleeps. After all, the man still has much to teach us.
    Good job my brother.

    Take care.

    Like

    1. aero

      Kareem’s journey has been a fabulous and as someone who’s appreciative of great talent when I see it. I’d hate to see him bow out all too soon ! He’s been a tremendous ambassador for the sport as well as a tremendous human being in his capacities outside the game of basketball.

      Alan Parkins

      Like

  3. This one was a sad one. I really was caught off guard by it! I might have been slightly too young to really appreciate Kareem, but I did enjoy his movies and the way he went about the game! Hopefully we’ll see another as great as him!

    Like

    1. chappy 81

      I’ve seen enough of Kareem by way of highlight film to appreciate how good this guy really was at the position. When there’s talk of the best centers to have ever played the game. Then his game has to be in the mix alongside Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain , Tim Duncan and Hakeem Olajuwon. You’ll note I haven’t placed Shaq there. As I, believe his game to be one dimensional !

      One doubts that we’ll ever get to see another player of his (Kareem’s) caliber. Guys of his abilities don’t come around all that often. Perhaps, once every other generation, if we’re lucky.

      Thankfully his illness can be treated without him having to undergo radical chemotherapy or any other major energy sapping medication.

      Alan Parkins

      Like

    1. Chris Humpherys (Sportschump)

      Thankfully Kareem is in a situation where the prescriptive medication alone will ensure him a long and productive life. The illness itself , myeloid cancer , isn’t one where radical chemotherapy or a large dosage of orally prescribed medication is required. And for that ,we’ve all got to be eternally grateful !

      However, I can’t help but wonder how it is that the world somehow felt sorry for Magic Johnson . When , when he in essence brought his own situation into being because of his own sheer stupidity and the thinking that he was invincible.

      Alan Parkins

      Like

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