Pro Legends of Streetball: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Man, where to start with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? The NBA’s all-time leading scorer (38,387), 6-time world champ, 6-time NBA Most Valuable Player (a record), 19-time All-Star (also a record), Rookie of the Year…and the list just goes on and on. Plus, who can forget Kareem’s classic role in Airplane or his epic battle with Bruce Lee in Game of Death. With so many accolades it’s hard to imagine that the guy found the time to become a streetball legend too, but that’s exactly what he did on the blacktops of some of New York’s most famous courts.
Born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor in New York City, the man later to be known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar led Manhattan’s Power Memorial Academy to three straight championships and a 79-2 overall record, one that was punctuated by a 71-game win streak. Outside of school, Jabbar guaranteed his legendary status in NYC with his exploits at Rucker Park. Later in life, and like many former New York players, Kareem found the allure of the city’s streetball too much to resist, and came back during one offseason to play in Rucker Park’s famous pro-am tournament. Despite being the biggest star in the NBA, Jabbar had no problem putting his reputation on the line and squaring off against some of streetball’s greatest, including Earl “The Goat” Manigault, who Kareem later called the best player he’d ever played with or against. Sorry, Wilt and Magic.