It's a Guy Thing

Kareem Was The NBA’s Coolest Player

Long removed from his playing days, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar remains the epitome of cool. Photo by: U.S. Department of State (Public Domain).

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the coolest player in NBA history.

LeBron is King James. Michael Jordan was MJ. Magic Johnson was, as his nickname emphasizes, magic. Wilt Chamberlain, by his own accounts, bedded thousands of women.

No matter. Kareem was cooler.

Don’t believe us? Ask your dad.

Don’t believe your dad? No worries.

Read on as we present 33 reasons why No. 33 was the coolest NBA player of them all.

  1. As Lew Alcindor, his Power Memorial Academy won three straight New York City Catholic high school championships and posted a 71-game winning streak
  2. Alcindor’s 2,067 total points were a New York City high school record
  3. He was woke before most of today’s woke crowd was awake. Alcindor was among an elite group of stars who attended the Cleveland Summit to discuss opportunities for black athletes. Others in attendance included Jim Brown, Bill Russell and Muhammad Ali
  4. On November 27, 1965, the UCLA freshman team, led by Alcindor’s 31 points and 21 rebounds, defeated the two-time defending NCAA champion varsity Bruins 75–60 in the first game in the new Pauley Pavilion. The joke was that the UCLA varsity was No. 1 in the nation and No. 2 on campus
  5. He scored 56 points in his first game for UCLA, which set a school single-game record
  6. Along with Henry Bibby, Curtis Rowe and Lynn Shackleford, they are the only four players to start on three NCAA championship teams
  7. The NCAA banned the dunk in 1967 because the 7-foot-1 Alcindor was such a dominant, unstoppable force in college basketball
  8. Alcindor received the Helms Foundation College Basketball Player of the Year an unprecedented three years in succession
  9. He graduated from UCLA in 1969 with a Bachelor of Arts in history
  10. Forbidden from dunking in college, he developed the skyhook, which became his signature shot
  11. Bettors could play over/under prop wagers at basketball betting sites on how many skyhooks Kareem would make in a game
  12. After converting to Islam in 1971, he changed his name from Lew Alcindor Jr. to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
  13. In Arabic, his name means a noble and powerful servant of Allah
  14.  Abdul-Jabbar is the only player to win multiple NCAA Tournament (three) and NBA Finals (two) MVP awards
  15.  He won an NBA-record six championships – once with the Milwaukee Bucks, in 1970-71, and five times with the Los Angeles Lakers, in 1979-80, 1981-82, 1984-85, 1986-87, 1987-88
  16.  Friends with legendary martial arts expert Bruce Lee, Abdul-Jabbar trained with Lee. The two appeared together in the 1972 film Game Of Death
  17.  He declined a $1 million offer to play for the Harlem Globetrotters
  18.  He played in the NBA playoffs during a record 18 seasons
  19.  Abdul-Jabbar won a record six NBA MVP Awards in 1970-71, 1971-72, 1973-74, 1975-76, 1976-77 and 1979-80
  20. He scored at least 10 points in 787 consecutive NBA games from Dec. 4, 1977 to Dec. 2, 1987
  21.  When a fire destroyed his home in Bel-Air home, including his collection of over 3,000 jazz records, basketball fans began purchasing jazz records to help Abdul-Jabbar replenish his collection
  22.  Kareem delivered the greatest comedic acting performance ever by an athlete when he portrayed co-pilot Roger Murdock in the the film Airplane
  23. He was equally impressive portraying himself opposite Billy Crystal in the movie Forget Paris
  24.  Abdul-Jabbar was the first NBA player to play 20 seasons
  1. He made nerd goggles look hip
  2. In 20 NBA seasons he played in a record 19 NBA All-Star Games
  3.  Abdul-Jabbar holds the NBA standards for defensive rebounds in a game (29, Dec. 14, 1975 vs. Detroit Pistons) and a season (1,111 with the 1975-76 Lakers)
  4. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995 in his first year of eligibility
  5. After serving as volunteer assistant coach of the Alchesay high school basketball team on the White Mountain Apache Reservation in Whiteriver, Arizona in 1998-99, he wrote a book about the experience in 2000: A Season on the Reservation: My Sojourn with the White Mountain Apaches
  6. In 2002, he coached the Oklahoma Storm to the US Basketball League championship
  7. In 2015, ESPN named Abdul-Jabbar the best center in NBA history
  8. He gave a speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention
  9.  Abdul-Jabbar is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points