Kareem Abdul-Jabbar talks about how training with Bruce Lee helped him
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar enjoyed a famously lengthy NBA career, and he had Bruce Lee to thank in part for that.
In an appearance this weekend on ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” the legendary big man discussed how he trained with Lee, who is the subject of the network’s new “30 for 30” documentary entitled “Be Water.” Abdul-Jabbar credited Lee with helping him stay healthy during his career.
“Bruce always emphasized the effectiveness of stretching,” said the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. “So before we worked out, we stretched all the time … I took that to another level by studying yoga and being able to advance as a yoga student. And that really was the best preventative maintenance that I could have been doing in the offseason.
“So I’d do strength training, flexibility training, cardiovascular training, those three,” the now 73-year-old Abdul-Jabbar went on. “And I only took off two weeks out of the whole year. The rest of the time I made sure I worked out at least three or four times a week.”
Abdul-Jabbar enjoyed a close relationship with the martial arts icon Lee and appeared in a memorable fight scene with him in 1978’s “Game of Death.” The movie was Lee’s final film and was released after his death in 1973.
For his part, Abdul-Jabbar went on to play 20 high-level years in the NBA and was not the only basketball legend to draw inspiration from Lee’s example.