Kareem Abdul Jabbar (born April 16, 1947) was a successful high school, collegiate, and professional basketball player. Born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor (usually known as Lew Alcindor) in New York City, he was a center who grew to 7'2" (2.18 m) tall. He led Power Memorial Academy to three straight New York City Catholic championships and a 71-game winning streak. He played for UCLA from 1967 - 1969. During his time on the team, UCLA lost only 2 games. He was the number 1 1969 NBA draft pick. After graduating from UCLA, he played for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers. While at UCLA Abdul-Jabbar converted to Islam. He took his Arabic name in 1971.
At UCLA, he suffered a scratched left eyeball; from then on, he mostly played wearing goggles.
Abdul-Jabbar was famous for his sky hook shot, which was notoriously hard to defend against. He was also notable for his physical fitness regimen.
Statistics (As of 2003)
Games Played - 1560 (2nd Highest in NBA history)
Field Goal % - 55.9 (8th Highest)
Free Throw % - 72.1
3-Point % - 5.6
Rebounds - 17,440 (3rd Highest)
Rebounds per Game - 11.2 (25th Highest)
Assists - 5660 (29th Highest)
Assist per Game - 3.6
Steals - 1160
Steals per Game -
Blocks - 3189 (Highest)
Blocks per Game - 2.57
Points - 38,387 (Highest)
Points per Game - 24.6 (12th Highest)
College Player of the Year (1967, 1969)
Elected to Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (1995)
Played on NCAA champion teams (1967, 1968, 1969)
NCAA Player of the Tournament (1967, 1968, 1969)
Played on NBA champion teams (1971, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988)
NBA MVP (1971, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1980) (a record 6 times)
NBA Final MVP (1971, 1985)
Sports Illustrated magazine's "Sportsman of the Year" (1985)
Rookie of the Year (1970)
One of 50 Greatest Players in NBA History (1996)
Playing for the Lakers allowed Jabbar to try his hand at acting: In 1980, he participated as the co-pilot in the movie Airplane!. He had numerous other TV and film roles.
He is also a best-selling author, the latest of his books being Brothers In Arms (ISBN 0385503385), the history of an all-black tank squadron.
Interestingly, he has a prescription to smoke marijuana in the state of California, the result of nausea-inducing migraine headaches.