At one point in NBA history, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was regarded as the greatest player in history. Here was a player that caused the NCAA to outlaw dunking in games because he was simply so physically gifted and utterly dominating — and this was well before his prime began.
Abdul-Jabbar’s most notable go-to move was his patented “sky hook,” which he Tweeted about recently (even throwing some mild shade at former foe Wilt Chamberlain):
“I learned to shoot the hook shot while I was in grade school using a drill made popular by George Mikan. Wilt blocked one of my hook shots during my rookie year & after that he wasn’t able to guard me,” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar replied to a fan who asked about how he learned his signature move.
Kareem was 19-time All-Star who only missed making it an even 20 after failing to make it during the 1977-78 season, a campaign in which he put remarkable numbers of 25.8 points, 12.9 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 3.0 blocks and 1.0 steals per game with a league-high 29.2 Player Efficiency Rating and a near career-high box plus/minus of 9.3.
Again, that was the season he didn’t make the All-Star team.
A six-time NBA champ and six-time MVP, Kareem has a wide variety of all-time NBA records, including field goals (15,837) and points (38,387). He’s also top-five in blocks (3,189) and rebounds (17,440). Even more impressively, the long-limbed big man finished his career with more assists (5,660) than Michael Jordan (5,633).
Perhaps most incredible was Abdul-Jabbar’s longevity, which saw him play the most minutes of any player in NBA history with a staggering 57,446 — 2,500 more than the next-highest minutes total, which belongs to Karl Malone with 54,852.
Incredibly, Abdul-Jabbar never suffered a major injury other than breaking his hand in the first game of the 1977-78 because he punched an opposing player – forcing him out for two months (and likely costing him an All-Star spot).
In his 20-year career, Kareem played 1,560 out of a possible 1,640 games.