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#pounditFriday, February 3, 2023

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar critical of UCLA coach Steve Alford

Kareem-Abdul-Jabbar-Wants-Statue-Outside-Staples-CenterKareem Abdul-Jabbar lobbied to get the UCLA head coaching job two years ago that eventually went to Steve Alford. Two years later, Abdul-Jabbar is being critical of Alford’s leadership of the program that the former star center helped make great in the ’60s.

Abdul-Jabbar was a guest on SiriusXM NBA Radio’s “Off the Dribble” and expressed his disappointment with the state of the Bruins’ program.

“It was real ugly. I watched them in the playoffs,” said Abdul-Jabbar. “They don’t even know how to run the fast break. I’m not trying to sit on the sideline and throw stones at Coach Alford — he has a tough job. But people used to learn how to play the game at UCLA, and I don’t think that’s happening now. I think that that’s a real disappointment to those of us who are part of the tradition.”

I’m not trying to throw stones at Alford, but I’m going to point out everything he hasn’t done well. Someone is talking out of both sides of his mouth here, and I think it’s the 7-foot-2 guy in the room.

Look, as a Bruin alum, I wasn’t happy with the Alford hiring to begin with, so you can imagine my dissatisfaction with the program following a 22-14 season last year (lucky run to the Sweet 16 included). I agree with Kareem that the program should be in better shape and that they could do better than Alford. But some of Abdul-Jabbar’s criticism seems to be motivated by his bitterness over not being considered for the position. If he thinks he could do better or connect well with young players and recruits, he has another thing coming.

Overall, I do agree with his assessment of the team and wish they had another coach, but you better believe I don’t want it to be Kareem and his uncongenial personality.

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