NBA’s All-Time Leading Scorer: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

The Life and Career of One of the NBA’s GOATs 

We are in the middle of the NBA Summer League at the moment and it has been one of the most exciting tournaments for a few years. 

We have seen new draftees and undrafted players scoring some amazing goals over the last week. You can find the best sports betting spreads on the league and next season here. 

But what will we do after Summer League finishes? Well, aside from waiting for the NBA to start up again, we thought we would help you brush up on your basketball history. 

Today, we are going to look at the career and life so far of the NBA’s all-time leading point scorer Kareen Abdul-Jabbar. He retired in 1989 and still holds this record. 

Early Life 

Abdul-Jabbar was born Ferdinand Lewis “Lew” Alcindor, Jr. in Harlem, New York. 

He was a tall child, reaching 5’8″ by the age of 9 and 6’8″ by 13. He started playing basketball early on and led his high school team, Power Memorial Academy, on a 71-game winning streak. He won 71 of his 73 high school games and his team won three consecutive New York Championships.

Abdul-Jabbar had a very strained relationship with his high school coach, who used to racially abuse him in front of other students. 

College Basketball 

He went to UCLA to study history. At the time, freshmen couldn’t play on the varsity team, however, a yearly match took place between the freshman and the varsity teams at UCLA. Abdul-Jabbar was part of the first freshman team to win that game, scoring 31 points and grabbing 21 rebounds. 

His freshman team didn’t lose a single game. Then over the next three years, UCLA would only lose 2 games – one when Abdul-Jabbar went off injured and the other when the game was stalled. They won the NCAA Championship in all three years. 

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was named Most Outstanding Player in the NCAA Tournament three times and given the first ever Naismith College Player of the Year award. 

Between his sophomore and junior years, Kareem studied Jeet Kune Do under Bruce Lee in Los Angeles.

By the time he graduated from college, Abdul-Jabbar was 7’2″. 

NBA Career 

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1969 NBA Draft. He ended up playing for the Bucks for six years before moving to the Los Angeles Lakers. 

He was named Rookie of the Year in 1970 after completely turning around the fortunes of the Bucks. 

While playing for the Bucks, Abdul-Jabbar won his first NBA Championship and his first MVP award. Both of these happened in 1971. He was also named the MVP of the NBA Finals that year. 

After moving to the Lakers in 1975, Kareem had a quiet few years, as far as trophies go. He was called up to the All-stars every year apart from 1978. He was also named the regular season MVP in 1974, 1976, 1977 and 1980. 

It wasn’t until 1980 that he won his next NBA finals title. He then went on to win it with the Lakers again in 1982 and 1985. They then did the double in 1987 and 1988. 

Kareem eventually retired in 1989, 20 years after being Drafted. When he retired, he held the NBA records in nearly every category. 

NBA Stats and Records 

When Abdul-Jabbar retired, he had:

  • 6x NBA Championships  (1971, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988) 
  • 2x NBA Finals MVP Awards (1971, 1985) 
  • 6x MVP Awards (1971, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1980)
  • 19x All-Star appearances (1970-77, 1979-89)

Here are Abdul-Jabbar’s career stats: 

The following were all records when Abdul-Jabbar retired 

  • All-time leader in points (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)*
  • Personal fouls (4,657)

*Still NBA records 

Abdul-Jabbar went on to win two more NBA championships (200p and 2010) as the assistant coach of the Lakers. 

Coaching Career

1998-99 Alchesay HS (assistant)

2000 Los Angeles Clippers (assistant)

2002 Oklahoma Storm

2005-11 Los Angeles Lakers (assistant)

After taking a 10 year break from the sport during which he did some acting work and worked as a commentator for TV networks, Abdul-Jabbar became a coach. He started by working for Alchesay High School in Arizona. He worked for two seasons and then spent a single season with the Clippers. While he was head coach of the Oklahoma Storm they won the USBL championship – the biggest trophy in their league. 

He later moved back to the Lakers, this time as an assistant coach. While he was with the team they won two NBA Finals. This took his own total up to 8. 

There is no doubt that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is one of the greatest basketball players of all time. 


credit to Pexels for the image