In his heyday, Kareem Abdul Jabbar inked his name as one of the greatest NBA stars in the history of the game. Playing in the center position, the talented player spent his 20-year career stint between two NBA teams, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers. Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s career accomplishments can be described as legendary as he won the NBA MVP Award for a record 6 times, was named NBA Finals MVP on 2 occasions, and also earned an unprecedented 19 NBA All-Star designations.
The veteran NBA star has since launched his coaching career having retired in 1989. In addition to his illustrious NBA career as a player and coach, Kareem Abdul Jabbar equally has a successful acting career. His acting résumé includes a role in the highly-acclaimed box-office monster Airplane! (1980). The NBA legend was named in April 2018 as one of the contestants in the 26th season of Dancing with the Stars.
Kareem Abdul Jabbar Bio (Age)
The basketball legend was born Ferdinand Lewis “Lew” Alcindor Jr. on April 16, 1947, in New York City. He adopted the Arabic name Kareem Abdul Jabbar following his conversion to Islam in 1968. He was the only child of his parents Cora Lillian and Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Sr.
Lew Alcindor Jr. had his high school education at Power Memorial Academy where his off-the-hook basketball talents began to manifest. He led the school to a 71-game unbeaten run, a national high school boys basketball championship in addition to 3 consecutive New York City Catholic championships. His exceptional abilities coupled with his imposing height earned him the moniker “The tower from Power“. Alcindor Jr. finished his high school career with a cumulative 2,067 points which was a school record.
He had his college career at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He joined the UCLA Bruins freshman team in 1966 which marked the beginning of one of the most illustrious careers in the history of the NCAA; three times, he was named as a First Team All-American and the Most Outstanding Player in the NCAA Tournament. He won the Player of the Year award twice. 1968 was a revolutionary year for Alcindor Jr. as he converted to Islam and also boycotted the Summer Olympics in protest of racial discrimination against black people in the US. He completed his college education in 1969 graduating with a B.A. from UCLA.
As expected, Kareem Abdul Jabbar was the first pick of the 1969 NBA draft where he was selected by then-newly formed NBA side Milwaukee Bucks. He was also the first pick of the 1969 American Basketball Association draft where he was selected by the New York Nets, however, he eventually settled with the Bucks.
In his impressive debut season with the Milwaukee Bucks, Kareem Abdul Jabbar won the NBA Rookie of the Year award having led the team to the runner-up position in the NBA Eastern Division. In the seasons that followed, he remained dominant as one of the league’s top scorers leading the team to an NBA championship title in the 1970-71 season. He also won 3 NBA MVP Awards during his 6 years stint with the Bucks. On his own request, Kareem Abdul Jabbar was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in 1974.
In his 14-season stint with the Lakers, the talented player won 3 more MVP awards (1976, 1977, and 1980), bringing his tally to a record 6 awards; he also won the 1985 NBA Finals MVP award. Kareem Abdul Jabbar announced his retirement from the game on June 28, 1989. He was appointed as the Lakers’ special assistant coach in September 2005 and has served in a similar capacity for several other NBA teams.
His Family, Wife, and Children
Kareem Abdul Jabbar is unmarried at the moment, however, the NBA legend has been married in the past. In the 1970s, he was married to Habiba Abdul-Jabbar (née Janice Brown). The two reportedly met at a Los Angeles Lakers game during the talented player’s college basketball career. They tied the knot on May 28, 1971, and had 3 children during their 7-year marriage. The union ended in divorce in 1978.
With Janice, Kareem Abdul Jabbar had 3 children: 2 daughters Habiba Abdul-Jabbar and Sultana Abdul-Jabbar and a son, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Jr. He also welcomed his fourth child, a son named Amir Abdul-Jabbar with his former girlfriend Cheryl Pistono, whom he met in 1977. Kareem Abdul Jabbar is also known to have fathered a third son Adam Abdul-Kareem, whose mother is unknown to the public.
Height – How Tall Is Kareem?
Right from birth, Kareem Abdul Jabbar has always been distinctively taller than his peers. He was 22 1⁄2 inches (57 cm) at birth and by the age of 9, he had attained a height of 5 feet 8 inches (173 cm). As a young teenager, he had a towering height of 6 feet 8 inches (203 cm) and as a result, he became dominant in his use of the slam-dunk.
Interestingly, the slam dunk became prohibited from college basketball for 9 years following Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s total supremacy with the shot in the 1967 season. The legendary NBA star eventually attained his full adult height of 7 feet 2 inches (218 cm) by the age of 22.