kareem abdul jabbar

i watched game 6 from the 1985 nba finals yesterday. it had running commentary from kareem abdul jabbar. what a joy it was for me!!

in earlier internet days, i used to post on the website insidehoops as rainierbeachpoet. we would kibbitz about all things nba such as greatest teams, greatest dunks, controversial calls and comparisons between players. i enjoyed it for a number of years but it ran its course…

these days a running question is about the greatest of all time. the two players that every hears about is michael jordan vs lebron james. it depends on the factors that one considers and the weight each factor has in one’s decision making. for my own blog here, a comparison between these two players will be a different post for a different time.

what i can say today is: kareem abdul jabbar could ALSO be argued to be the nba’s GOAT! (wilt chamberlain as well… different post too)

one advantage that i have, that many hardcore nba fans do not have is: the eye test. i have seen all three of these players in their prime. most nba fans have to rely on youtube videos for their “eye test”. but as we all know: videos cannot replace personal experience– videos can even lie to the eye. in his prime, kareem was simply dominant in ways MJ and LBJ were not but very few can comment from the eye test perspective.

admittedly, it is impossible to really evaluate objectively this question of who is the GOAT. two factors are that players were from different eras with different rules and historical contexts. popularity in the media is just one factor and MJ dominated there. LBJ is fresh in our minds because he is still playing– and at a mvp level! wilt changed the game. i do not trust my eye test for wilt because i was just a little kid when i saw him on tv and he was at the end of his career.

but with the following factors for kareem, i can argue that he was the GOAT: context (he was a champion and dominant as a high school, college and nba player); rule changes (the ncaa outlawed dunking because of lew alcindor (kareem); total points scored (kareem is #1) among other stats; championships (kareem has six); longevity (kareem played 20 seasons); societal effects (kareem was and still is a social justice advocate; stood with MLK jr!); integrity/intelligence (kareem has stayed true to who he is; is a notable writer); intangibles (many)

ahhh, the days of being the rainierbeachpoet on insidehoops…

who the GOAT in your opinion? why?


  1. There are similar discussion among tennis fans. Who’s the GOAT? Obviously, Roger Federer is tops for most casual (or younger) fans’ list, but I would argue Pete Sampras, Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver need to be part of the conversation. Different factors for different eras, equipment, tournament schedules, etc. are all things that have to be considered.


  2. frarthurcmf says:

    Amen, my tennis sista! I always like the bad boys through the years. Nastase, McEnroe, agassi


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s