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Photo Caption Contest: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar stands tall with Eminem

June 14, 2011 | 11:57 am

Kareememinem_0The two men are different.

Former Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar became the master of the sky hook, while rapper Eminem just mastered dropping hooks. Abdul-Jabbar is the author of seven books, mostly on African American history, while Eminem is the author of six albums, mostly on his troubled family history. Abdul-Jabbar stands 7-foot-2, while Eminem stands 5-foot-8.

That's why there are so many reasons this photo Abdul-Jabbar released on his Twitter feed appears awkward. At Bonnaroo Festival in Tennessee, Eminem appears tired or maybe a bit tipsy, while Abdul-Jabbar looks like a giddy fan. Eminem's "Bad Meets Evil" shirt commemorates his recent song with Royce Da 5'9'', while Abdul-Jabbar's "skyhook" shirt commemorates his distinguishable on-court skill.

But perhaps there are similarities. 

As Abdul-Jabbar tweeted, "The King of the Court Meets a Hip Hop King backstage @ Bonnaroo Great to meet such a humble & talented guy." Eminem's an equal-opportunity offender, throwing barbs at endless celebrities, ranging from artists (Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey), to politicians (Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Sarah Palin) and upsetting women and gay groups for his violent lyrics directed toward them. Abdul-Jabbar lately has been an equal-opportunity offender, arguing that the Lakers' failure to construct a statue of him provides one example of the Lakers disrespecting him, and publicly criticizing Scottie Pippen for suggesting LeBron James may be the best player of all time.  

Both feel misunderstood. Eminem often shared how he was bullied growing up, his mom was a drug addict and he felt isolated in an black-dominated rap industry. Abdul-Jabbar often shared how his height made him stand out in the crowd, didn't know how to interact with the general public and his introverted and sometimes off-putting personality made him a distant figure in the Lakers' organization.

And let's not forget both showcased amazing performances on the big screen, with Eminem starring in "8 Mile" and Abdul-Jabbar appearing in "Airplane."

Forget his collaborations with Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, D12 and Lil Wayne. Eminem needs to collaborate with Cap. Fast-forward to the 0:23 mark of this video and you'll understand why. In 1987, the Showtime Lakers performed a rap song imploring people to "Just say no to drugs," in which Abdul-Jabbar busted out the following verse: "I'm Kareem/the captain of the team/I don't need drugs, I got a higher thing/My sky hook makes the team look good/but there's a hook we need to shake from the neighborhood." Something tells me with those verses, Eminem would have a formidable opponent in a freestyle battle, a contrasting voice to his drug-influenced songs in his early career or a complementary presence to the present time where he's remained sober after a well-documented drug addiction. 

But those are just my ideas. What are yours for a photo-caption contest? The best comment will be featured Wednesday. 

Photo: Former Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar stands with rapper Eminem at Bonnaroo. Credit: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

-- Mark Medina

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