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Category: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar praises Andrew Bynum's willingness to learn

Kareem-Abdul-Jabbar Even through his storied legacy includes collecting five of his six NBA titles with the Lakers, establishing himself (in the opinion of many) as the best center of all time and finishing as the league's all-time leading scorer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has lately made public gripes about his former employer.

He's argued that the Lakers' failure to erect a statue in his honor symbolizes the organization's slighting of him. He felt offended he was never offered a significant coaching position beyond being a part-time special assistant coach. And he believed that his introverted -- and to many -- off-putting personality made him a distant figure in the organization. At the time, I expressed the opinion that some of his grievances were exaggerated, but that was how he felt. But there's at least one memory with the Lakers that hasn't soured Abdul-Jabbar: having the opportunity to coach Lakers center Andrew Bynum.

In a column for ESPN.com, Abdul-Jabbar argued that part of the NBA's current labor problems stem from the fact that more and more college basketball players are entering the pro ranks too early, with many undeveloped and immature players sapping team finances. He held up Bynum as one of the exceptions, showing a willingness to immediately correct his mistakes. 

"While helping with the Lakers, I had the opportunity to work with Andrew Bynum, who wanted to learn and gained the knowledge he needed to be an important player for his team," Abdul-Jabbar wrote. "Andrew was able to use some of the fundamental moves I showed him as a foundation for his game. Before he got to the Lakers, he hadn't played many games. At 17 years of age, he had played in only two high school seasons, and both of those seasons were shortened by injuries. However, Andrew worked hard to master a basic repertoire of skills at both ends of the court. As he gained confidence in his ability to get things done, he became a reliable factor for the Lakers' success. Andrew got there, but it took three years for it to come together."

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NBA TV to air memorable Lakers playoff games

Magic Johnson and Larry Bird With nearly a month gone by since the NBA began its lockout, it appears the general public has nearly completed phase one of its reaction to the work stoppage.

That's the hand-wringing about who's to blame for this situation, the billionaire owners, the millionaire players or both. It's involved discussing whether NBA players will eventually take their talents overseas and if that's a necessary negotiating move or a needlessly risky gamble with their bodies. And it's included, at least in this corner of the blogosphere, going over nearly every story line entering the 2011-2012 season, assuming there is one.

Now we've entered phase two, in which the lack of summer-league play and the possibility of a lost season have spurred many to watch old NBA games.

Many this weekend clamored to find video featuring the likes of Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose balling in an exhibition game. Others are headed to Washington Park each week to check out the Drew League, which sparked a surprise appearance last weekend by LeBron James. Others of us are watching and rewatch classic NBA games, hoping this will somehow make us forget that the current season is on hiatus. 

Tuesday marks one of those days, as NBA TV will air Game 6 of the Lakers-Sixers 1980 NBA Finals series at 9 a.m., Game 4 of the Lakers-Celtics 1987 NBA Finals series at 10:30 a.m. and Game 5 of the Lakers-Warriors Western Conference semifinal series at 12:30 p.m. Below is a look at some of the memorable moments surrounding those games.

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Which Lakers would be good NBA analysts?

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The gig wouldn't happen anytime soon, considering the core of the Lakers' roster remains on long-term contracts.

Their debut would be far from definitive anyway considering it's possible the NBA lockout will eat at least into part of the 2011-2012 season.

But with Shaquille O'Neal slated to join TNT, according to CNBC's Darren Rovell, it got me thinking what other former or current Lakers would make great analysts. Although it's unclear what role O'Neal will fill, it's a given that he and Charles Barkley will set off fireworks with their fun and opinionated personalities. Magic Johnson currently serves as an ESPN analyst and famously suggested that Lakers owner Jerry Buss should "blow this team up" on the heels of the Lakers' four-game sweep to the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference semifinals. James Worthy joins  KCBS' Jim Hill for postgame analysis and provides honest feedback on the Lakers' play. And in addition to coaching the USC women's basketball team, Michael Cooper provides postgame analysis on ABC 7's "Sports Zone," mixing in his honest commentary with his clear rooting interest for the Lakers. 

Below the jump are a look at some other former and current Lakers and how they might do in the broadcast booth. 

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NBA lockout: Lakers' Andrew Bynum takes boxing lessons

Sdxqy-1-- The Orange County Register's Janis Carr details Lakers center Andrew Bynum taking boxing lessons.

-- The New York Post's Marc Berman reports that Spero Dedes' DUI arrest raises questions of whether it will affect negotiations regarding his play-by-play announcing gig with the Knicks. 

-- Former Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar expresses his disappointment in the Dodgers in a column at ESPN Los Angeles' website.

-- Ball Don't Lie's Kelly Dwyer lauds Bynum for taking up boxing. 

-- Pro Basketball Talk's Kurt Helin believes Kobe Bryant will make Dallas backup center Ian Mahinmi pay for calling him the NBA's most arrogant player. 

-- ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky explains how the Lakers are more likely to argue with other owners to ensure a new CBA as quickly as possible.

-- KSBY.com's Andrew Masuds mentions that Bryant will launch a new sportswear line Thursday in Santa Barbara and meet with fans in an event closed to the media. Perhaps he can tell them what he thinks of Mike Brown.

-- Jon Pastuszek of the Chinese basketball blog NIUBBALL.com explains that Bryant and others playing in China this summer hinges on the Chinese government's approval.

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

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

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar questions Scottie Pippen's argument that LeBron James ‘may be the greatest player to ever play’

6a00d8341c506253ef01538e94dae3970b-320wi-1In a nearly two-week span, former Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar went from questioning the Lakers' loyalty to questioning Scottie Pippen's claim that LeBron James "may be the greatest player to ever play."

After arguing that the Lakers' failure to honor him with a statue serves as an example of the team disrespecting him, the NBA's all-time leading scorer is now arguing Pippen's willingness to prop up James on the heels of the Heat-Mavericks NBA Finals matchup reflects his lack of appreciation for NBA greats such as Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and even Pippen's former teammate, Michael Jordan himself.

You may agree with Abdul-Jabbar's assessment that a statue honoring him is long overdue and that he holds the credibility to question Pippen's knowledge on NBA history. You may disagree with the tactics, believing his public gripes about the Lakers come off as sour grapes and chastising Pippen comes across as bullying. But it still makes for interesting reading.

So without further ado, here is Abdul-Jabbar's open letter to Pippen, which was recently obtained by The Times:

How Soon They Forget: An Open Letter to Scottie Pippen

Dear Scottie,

I have nothing but respect for you my friend as an athlete and knowledgeable basketball mind. But you are way off in your assessment of who is the greatest player of all time and the greatest scorer of all time. Your comments are off because of your limited perspective. You obviously never saw Wilt Chamberlain play who undoubtedly was the greatest scorer this game has ever known. When did MJ ever average 50.4 points per game plus 25.7 rebounds? (Wilt in the 1962 season when blocked shot statistics were not kept). We will never accurately know how many shots Wilt blocked. Oh, by the way in 1967 and 68, Wilt was a league leader in assists. Did MJ ever score 100 points in a game? How many times did MJ score more than 60 points in a game? MJ led the league in scoring in consecutive seasons for 10 years but he did this in an NBA that eventually expanded into 30 teams vs. when Wilt played and there were only 8 teams.

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's 'On the Shoulders of Giants' celebrates the Harlem Rens

It was a who's who of basketball -- former Laker Jerry West, former Celtics center Bill Russell, Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, former Harlem Globetrotter Marques Haynes among them -- and amid their laughter, arguments and playful ribbing, it became apparent that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's question about what basketball team was the best in history was not going to be met with an easy consensus.

This scene didn't come from a sports talk show, although it would've made for riveting television. It was from Abdul-Jabbar's documentary, "On the Shoulders of Giants," a 75-minute movie narrated by Jamie Foxx that focuses on the Harlem Rens (also known as the New York Renaissance) and the effect of that basketball team both on the sport and society.

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Looking back at the Lakers' Memorial Day performances

61877727 It's surely a weird feeling for Laker fans today, firing up their grills, hitting the beach and honoring the veterans that make our country safe.

That's because for the first time in three years, the Lakers aren't still playing basketball and competing for an NBA championship. Surely, Laker fans will still have plenty to talk about, such as the hiring of Mike Brown, who will have an introductory press conference Tuesday at 3 p.m. at the Lakers' practice facility in El Segundo. But there won't be the prospect of being able to watch a Laker playoff game on television like in years past.

It's always a good thing for Laker fans if their team is still playing through Memorial Day, but a look back at some of the Lakers' performances on that holiday doesn't always spark a lot of good memories. Below the jump are a look at the Lakers' 2-2 record in Memorial Day playoff games. 

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What a Lakers contract with fans might look like

Photo: Jerry West. Credit: Elise Amendola / Associated Press As a way to assuage fan concerns about the state of the franchise, new Golden State Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber took a few concrete steps to show they're serious about winning.

First, much to the frustration of Lakers fans, the Warriors hired Jerry West in what will be an advisory role in the Warriors' management group. As West made clear to reporters, he wants to strike a balance -- not taking complete control of front-office decisions, but not being just a figurehead either. Second, the Warriors hired agent Bob Myers as the general-manager-in-waiting and have gone through an extensive search to replace Coach Keith Smart, including looking at Lakers assistant coaches Brian Shaw and Chuck Person as possibilities. And third, Golden State drafted a contract of promises for season-ticket holders, including a guarantee that the Warriors would make the 2012 playoffs, field at least one player in the 2012 NBA All-Star game, win at least 25 home games and offer a risk-free renewal with a 5%-interest-guarantee option for the 2011-2012 season. 

The Lakers aren't exactly in the same state of rebuilding as the team in the Bay Area, but they've also been going through a coaching search, possibly naming Mike Brown as Phil Jackson's successor. There are also certainly plenty of reasons the Lakers don't feel good about their 2010-2011 performance. Consider Jerry Buss' statement in an interview Tuesday with Michael Eaves and Bonnie-Jill Laflin on Sirius XM satellite radio about the Lakers' 122-86 Game 4 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference semifinals: "It was hard to come to a conclusion that any team could ever beat the Lakers. It was very disappointing and humiliating. But when you get slapped around like that, there’s a lot of resolve and teams come back fighting to get back on top."

Clearly, it wouldn't hurt if the Lakers wrote their own contract for next season. Sure, the Lakers aren't quite in the same disarray as the Warriors, who are trying to become a contending playoff team. But there are a few things that could be written in stone to ease the minds of not just season-ticket holders but all Lakers fans. Below the jump are a few of them -- some realistic, some wacky.

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Caught in the Web: Lakers plan to pay next coach half of Phil Jacksons' salary

Photo: Whoever becomes the next Lakers coach probably will be making less than half of what Phil Jackson was being paid in salary. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / February 3, 2010. --The Times' Mike Bresnahan reports the new Lakers coach can expect an annual salary of $3 million to $5 million, a dropoff to the salary of Phil Jackson, whom Bresnahan reported made $12 million during the 2009-10 season before taking a paycut down to $10 million.

--We're also going to have a live chat today at 10:30 a.m. Bring your questions!

-Lakers owner Jerry Buss will talk to Sirius/XM Radio on channel 102 from 1 1-3 p.m. today. It'll be interesting to hear how much he's willing to reveal about the coaching search, the impending lockout and the Lakers' disappointing playoff finish. 

--The Orange County Register's Janis Carr talks to former Laker James Worthy about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's recent gripes about not having a statue.

--Forbes.com's Alana Glass argues the Lakers should treat Abdul-Jabbar with more respect.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Andy Kamenetzky provides a report card for Jackson.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky criticizes the NBA's decision for its explanation on why it fined Kobe Bryant more than Joakim Noah for uttering an anti-gay slur.

--Fox Sports West's Matt "Money" Smith argues the Lakers should look for a coach that's defensive-minded.

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