Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr. was born on April 16, 1947 in New York City, USA.
During his career as a center, Kareem was a record six-time NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP), a record 19-time NBA All-Star, a 15-time All-NBA selection, and an 11-time NBA All-Defensive Team member.
A member of six NBA championship teams as a player and two more as an assistant coach, Kareem was voted twice in the NBA Finals MVP.
In 1996, he was honored as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. NBA coach Pat Riley and players Isiah Thomas and Julius Erving have called him the greatest basketball player of all time.
After winning 71 consecutive basketball games for his high school team in New York City, Kareem was recruited by Jerry Norman, the assistant coach of UCLA, where he played for coach John Wooden on three consecutive national championship teams and was a record three-time MVP of the NCAA Tournament.
Drafted with the first overall pick by the one-season-old Bucks franchise in the 1969 NBA draft, Kareem spent six seasons in Milwaukee. After leading the Bucks to its first NBA championship at age 24 in 1971, he took the Muslim name Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Using his trademark “skyhook” shot, he established himself as one of the league’s top scorers.
In 1975, Kareem was traded to the Lakers, with whom he played the last 14 seasons of his career and won five additional NBA championships. Kareem’s contributions were a key component in the “Showtime” era of Lakers basketball. Over his 20-year NBA career, his team succeeded in making the playoffs 18 times and past the first round in 14 of them; his team reached the NBA Finals 10 times.
At the time of his retirement in 1989, Kareem was the NBA’s all-time leader in points scored (38,387), games played (1,560), minutes played (57,446), field goals made (15,837), field goal attempts (28,307), blocked shots (3,189), defensive rebounds (9,394), career wins (1,074), and personal fouls (4,657).
He remains the all-time leader in points scored and career wins. Kareem ranked third all-time in both rebounds and blocked shots. In 2007, ESPN voted him the greatest center of all time, in 2008, they named him the “greatest player in college basketball history”, and in 2016, they named him the second best player in NBA history (behind Michael Jordan). Kareem has also been an actor, a basketball coach, and a best-selling author.
In 2012, Kareem was selected by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to be a U.S. global cultural ambassador. In 2016, former President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.