Kareem Abdul-Jabbar skeptical about LeBron James returning to ‘betrayed spouse’

LeBron-CavsMost people feel that LeBron James choosing to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers was the right thing to do. LeBron acknowledged that he made a mistake with the way “The Decision” was handled and said he always believed he would finish his career in Cleveland. While the same fans who burned his jersey four years ago are now crying tears of joy, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar doesn’t believe LeBron’s homecoming will be the fairytale ending everyone envisions.

In an essay he wrote for TIME Magazine, Abdul-Jabbar referred to Cleveland as the “betrayed spouse” and compared LeBron to a husband who leaves his wife for a younger, more attractive woman. Kareem cautioned that LeBron’s “home” has changed in his absence and is now filled with people he hurt.

To some skeptical residents, LeBron’s return to Cleveland is less that of the prodigal son’s triumphant return home than the straying husband who abandoned his longtime partner to chase a younger, hotter, firmer slice having second thoughts. Having realized he traded a deep love for a sweaty romp, he’s coming home with a bouquet of roses in one hand and a diamond bracelet in the other, begging forgiveness for his foolish mistake of lustful youth.

We’re still talking about basketball, right? That seems a bit dramatic to me. Personally, I think LeBron’s return will go as well as the Cavs play. If he wins a championship within a few years, he will be one of the most unique heroes in professional sports history. If not, he’ll be the guy who won rings but could never get it done for his home state.

Still, Abdul-Jabbar kept the romantic relationship metaphors rolling.

When LeBron left Cleveland he celebrated it as the Exodus from Egypt and enslavement, and that arrogance left a bitter taste in his fans’ mouths. It was like showing up at a party with his new girlfriend when he knew his ex would be there. Tacky. Even his return to Cleveland might have been seen as more from the heart, as he states in his essay, if it had just been announced as a fait accompli instead of the press and fans waiting in anticipation for the word to come down from the mountain inscribed on tablets.

Kareem did praise LeBron for his sincerity, but his overall point was that James won’t be going home to the “home he once knew.” While that may be true, we can’t think of a better storyline in the middle of LeBron’s career.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Kobe Bryant won’t be same player in ‘rebuilding year’ for Lakers

Kobe BryantThe Los Angeles Lakers will be entering the 2013-2014 season with plenty of unknowns. For starters, Kobe Bryant is coming off a torn Achilles’ tendon, which is one of the most serious injuries in sports. The injury occurred less than six months ago, though Kobe appears to be making tremendous progress in his rehab. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar does not believe that progress will be enough to allow Bryant to return to form.

During an interview with CBS Sports Radio earlier this week, Abdul-Jabbar said he expects the Lakers to be in for a pretty rough season.

“It’s a rebuilding year for them because Kobe has been hurting and he has a very devastating type of injury,” he said, via CBSSports.com’s Ken Berger. “I don’t think he will be able to come back as quickly and completely as he would like. It’s gonna be tough on the Lakers this year.

“When Kobe does come back, it’s gonna be a different Kobe and that will definitely effect the outcome for the Lakers long-term. … It’s gonna be a test for him this year, absolutely.”

Lakers executive Jim Buss said that he expects Bryant to be ready for the start of the season, but that could be wishful thinking. Kobe also recently posted a video of himself jumping off a 40-foot high dive platform.

The reality of the situation is that Kobe is 35 years old and coming off a major injury. He was going to start slowing down at some point anyway. The injury will probably accelerate that process. The Lakers also lost Dwight Howard via free agency, so they have plenty of obstacles to overcome. They’d surprise plenty of people if they emerged as a championship contender.

H/T Pro Basketball Talk

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar rips Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard LakersThere was once a time when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had nice things to say about Dwight Howard, but that may have simply been a result of how happy he was to see Andrew Bynum go. Abdul-Jabbar was never fond of Bynum and his work ethic, and he was not shy about admitting it publicly. Similarly, he did not hide his feelings when addressing Howard’s departure from LA.

On Monday, Abdul-Jabbar took to Facebook to rip Howard and assure Lakers fans that the team will be fine without him.

“Dwight Howard is a perfect example of the fact that ‘potential has a shelf life,’” he wrote, via ESPNLosAngeles.com. “Laker fans should be patient and allow Mitch & company to prepare themselves to do some serious work in the free agent market.”

Howard has said he is excited to work with Hakeem Olajuwon now that he has signed with the Houston Rockets, but Abdul-Jabbar told Arash Markazi that Dwight told him the same thing and never reached out to him again. When Kareem was asked about teaching Howard the sky hook, he threw another jab at the 27-year-old center.

“At least he’d have an offensive move,” Kareem said. “He gets the ball on offense, oh my God, he doesn’t know what to do. It’s usually a turnover, people come and take the ball from him or tie his arms up. Offensively, he doesn’t get it. Hasn’t made any progress.”

Abdul-Jabbar is the second former Lakers big man to blast Howard since he announced his decision to leave LA, and I’m sure Dwight expected it. If he actually cared, he would have stayed with the Lakers.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar honored with statue, sweet bobblehead (Pictures)

Ask and ye shall receive. Former Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar complained last year that there wasn’t a statue of his likeness outside Staples Center in Los Angeles, and the problem was rectified on Friday when a bronze statue of him was unveiled.

The statue depicts Abdul-Jabbar wearing goggles and short-shorts, and it captures him doing his signature sky hook move. The statue will sit outside Staples Center alongside the statues for former Lakers greats Magic Johnson and Jerry West. Magic, West, and other Lakers legends such as Elgin Baylor, and coach Pat Riley were in attendance at the press conference on Friday where Abdul-Jabbar’s statue was unveiled.

Kareem played 14 seasons for the Lakers, helping lead the franchise to five championships. He won three MVP awards while with the team, and six total for his career (the other three were with Milwaukee). A 19-time All-Star and basketball Hall of Famer, Kareem is one of the best players in NBA history. The statue was long overdue.

In addition to the statue being unveiled, all fans in attendance for Friday’s Lakers-Suns game received a Kareem Abdul-Jabbar bobblehead doll that shows him in goggles and doing the sky hook. This is one of the sickest bobbleheads we’ve seen:

[Read more...]

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar reportedly getting Staples Center statue after complaining

It appears that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is going to get his wish. Back in May, the Lakers legend expressed frustration with the organization for not dedicating a statue outside the Staples Center in his honor. Modest? Not exactly, but Abdul-Jabbar did lead the Lakers to five NBA championships and win six league MVP awards. Former Lakers Magic Johnson and Jerry West currently have statues outside the arena, and Kareem is reportedly next.

According to the LA Times, the Lakers are planning to unveil a statue featuring the Hall of Fame center at some point next season. Apparently they feel it will be appropriate to honor one of the best big men in team history during a season in which another potential Hall of Famer, Dwight Howard, is being added to the mix.

The problem many have is not with the statue but the way in which Kareem has handled himself. He made the following argument during an interview a few months ago.

“I don’t understand (it). It’s either an oversight or they’re taking me for granted,” Abdul-Jabbar explained. “I’m not going to try to read people’s minds, but it doesn’t make me happy. It’s definitely a slight. I feel slighted.”

Those comments were nothing compared to the tweet he sent out last year.

“Rumor has it that I will be getting a statue,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “A caveat for all my fans — don’t hold your breath. Lakers don’t care about me.”

Somebody call the whambulance. I’d rather not have a statue than have people think the only reason I got one is because I cried about it so much. But hey, that’s just me.

H/T Eye on Basketball

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Andrew Bynum lost interest in learning fundamentals

Andrew Bynum has the size and ability to be one of the best centers in the NBA. His skill has never really been in question. His motivation has. Sixers fans are hoping a change of scenery will mean a change in attitude and a new beginning for their franchise. As someone who worked with Bynum for quite some time, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar knows all about the former Laker’s tendencies and what Dwight Howard should be able to bring to L.A. that he couldn’t.

“Dwight is very committed to playing and winning,” Abdul-Jabbar said according to the LA Times. “Andrew has been up and down on that issue. There are times he wants to play, do a great job and he goes out and does it. Then there are other times where it seems like he’s not focused.

“When I first started working with him, he was eager to learn. He appreciated me shortening the learning curve. Once he figured he did everything he wanted to do in terms of learning, he didn’t want me to bother him constantly going over the fundamentals.”

During his time with the Lakers, Bynum became known for missing team meetings and doing stupid things during games more so than he did for his rebounding and scoring ability. Had he remained focused and actually cared about winning, there’s no telling how good L.A. could have been. If what Kareem says is accurate, Howard will bring the team an element it has been searching for with Bynum.

H/T Pro Basketball Talk
Photo credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s mind was in the gutter for this Jeopardy! answer (Video)

To be fair to Kareem, I probably would have answered with an “X” too. I just hope he doesn’t expect to get a statue with a dirty mind like that.

via Hot Clicks