We are exceedingly fortunate to have the a new relationship here at Forum Blue and Gold with the greatest center to ever play the game — the six time NBA champion, six time MVP, leading scorer in the history of the game Kareem Abdul Jabbar. A great player, more importantly a great person who has lived (and is living) a rich and full life, a man who brings thoughtfulness to whatever he does. No enough of those kind of people in the world. Plus he’s a huge jazz fan, always a plus in my book.
You need to visit his Web site, where he talks everything from basketball to Michael Jackson. Most athlete web sites are little more than PR vehicles, rarely to you get genuine thoughts and an understanding of the man. This is real.
We will be asking the living legend a couple questions regularly around here, and this is the first installment:
How has the role of center changed in the NBA from when you played to now? How has that manifested working with Andrew Bynum?
KAJ ANSWERS: The role of the center has not changed at all but people feel that it has because there are so few centers playing the game effectively but the requirements have remained the same. I try to give Andrew a clear understanding of what he can do to help his team win basketball games.
You have had a friendship with Red Auerbach, were coached by John Wooden and have watched Phil Jackson up close — maybe the three greatest coaches the game has ever seen. Can you compare and contrast them, and say what similar traits they shared?
KAJ: Its impossible to contrast them because they have all played in different eras of the game. Coach Auerbach coached when the NBA had only had 8 teams. Coach Wooden coached at the University level and Coach Jackson coached in the modern NBA which has 30 teams, so each area required different management skills. I don’t think they had much in common because the needs of their jobs were different in each case.
I hate to add a little free agent note to the bottom of the post, but this the season. Good signing by the Lakers to bring back Shannon Brown and his potential — two years at $4.2 million, with a player option for the second year. I don’t know if he is the long term answer at PG, but after last season he deserves a chance to see.
Most importantly, this is a guy who does what we fans seem to always call for — he took less money to play here. One thing in today’s age of free agency we rarely see is person who is puts wanting to play for a specific team ahead of money. I am comfortable with the deal, it is a little less than market value and if he has a great year and opts out to get a payday, well, he will have earned it. Not going to begrudge a man his money.