Kareem Abdul-Jabbar opens up on player trade demands, his own request to go from Bucks to Lakers
The shift in power in the NBA has been a hot topic of late, with some players now in the driver’s seat in terms of demanding where they want to play. Los Angeles Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar chimed in on the discussion, saying that in his mind, he sees nothing wrong with it:
“It’s a business,” he said, via Mark Medina of USA TODAY Sports. “The business aspect of it, and the public gets a chance to see that. It’s taken for granted that’s what is going on. I don’t think there’s any surprises there.”
Kareem did admit that the Anthony Davis trade request could have happened privately:
“What happened with Anthony Davis, that could’ve happened out of the public eye. It’s just that somebody spoke about it possibly out of turn. It’s still possible out of the public eye. The fact that there is social media does not mean that you have to use it.”
Abdul-Jabbar also talked about a similar experience he went through in his career some 44 years ago, when he himself demanded a trade from the Milwaukee Bucks and wound up with the Lakers:
“When I got to the point where I was going to leave Milwaukee, I was in a strong position,” he explained.” I only had a year left on my contract. By the time the season ended in 1975, I had less than a year with the Milwaukee franchise. When the season started, that was going to be it. So every day that went by, their bargaining power lessened. So they sensed they could make their best day in the atmosphere that existed at that time. And they made a big deal for themselves.
“Nobody knew what was going to happen. They thought, ‘Maybe they’ll sign him.’ But the team knew that I wasn’t going to sign. They did what they needed to do. They asked me straight up. I could’ve lived in New York and played in Milwaukee and gone home after games and have New York as my principal residence. But that’s just added stress.”
Based on this narrative, it is clear that players demanding to leave their current team is nothing new. As a matter of fact, this has been around for quite some time now. As Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said, at the end of the day, the NBA is a business, and sometimes, it’s the players who get to dictate how things move forward.