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November 3, 2015, Troy, NY  The greatest player in the history of the NBA, had his own signature shoe during his career, was Rookie of The Year, and won 6 titles. He never chose commerce over conscience, though. If you were thinking I am talking about Michael “Republicans buy shoes, too” Jordan you are wrong.

I am talking about the man born Lew Alcindor on April 16, 1947, in New York City. He is now known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Kareem was the greatest high school player ever after attending the now defunct Power Memorial HS in Manhattan. The reason why Morgan Wootten is famous is because he led Dematha HS to a victory over Power Memorial in a game that was played at Cole Field House on the campus of the University of Maryland.

Kareem attended UCLA at the time freshmen were ineligible to compete on varsity teams. In his first varsity game, he scored 56 points and led UCLA to a title in 1967. His dominance was such that dunking was outlawed in order to stop him. His response, he developed the most unstoppable shot in basketball history, the sky hook. He went on the lead UCLA to 3 consecutive titles while becoming the only player to win the Most Outstanding player in three Final Fours. His college career was not without controversy, in 1968 prior to his senior season, he boycotted the Summer Olympic Games that were held in Mexico City.

In 1969, after graduating from UCLA, he was selected number one overall after the Milwaukee Bucks won a coin flip with the Phoenix Suns.

This sounds insane: freshmen ineligible, dunking outlawed in college, and a coin flip to determine the top draft pick?
Anyway, he was the Rookie of The Year in 1970 and won the regular season and Finals MVP while leading the Bucks to their only NBA title in 1971. One of the highlights of his career with the Bucks was helping Milwaukee stop the 1971-’72 Lakers 33 game winning streak.

In 1975, Kareem was traded to the Lakers without much success until Magic Johnson was drafted by the Lakers in 1979. During the period of 1980 – 1989, the Lakers made eight Finals appearances winning five times. The highlight of this run for Kareem was winning Finals MVP at the age of 38 in 1985, as the Lakers defeated their nemesis, the Boston Celtics, for the first time.

The most underrated part of his legacy was his longevity. At the age of 40, Kareem scored 32 points to lead the Lakers to victory over the Celtics in Game 6 of the ’87 Finals. After falling behind to the Pistons in the ’88 Finals and trailing by 1 point in Game 6, the Lakers went to their captain who was fouled and made 2 free throws to tie the series that was won in 7 games by the Lakers for their fifth title of the 80’s.

Following one more Finals appearance in 1989, he retired as the all-time leading scorer in NBA history, winner of the most regular season MVPs, participant of the most All Star games, and the oldest Finals MVP. He was elected to The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995.

Tonight HBO will premiere a documentary titled,”Minority of One” at 10 p.m. EST, a biographical look at his life and career. The defense rests.

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