Kareem The Dream Essay, Research Paper
Kareem the DreamMost young boys daydream of being the next NBA star, yet only a few make that dream into a reality. They spend hours on end practicing and playing with other dreamers, showing off who is the king of the court. Many continue to play throughout high school, some play at college, but not many make it the big leagues. One special young man who had the determination to make it big is Lew Alcindor, better known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. With hard work and determination, Jabbar pushed himself to be successful and will always be known as one of the greatest players in the history of professional basketball.Kareem Abdul-Jabbar lived, what most people would consider, and normal life. He was born to hard working parents, Al and Cora, in the projects of Harlem. Though today these projects are controlled by drug dealers and gang member, back when Jabbar was a young kid, it was a peaceful place to grow-up. Even so, at the tender age of three years old, Jabbar s parents decided that it was time to move on, so they grounded their roots in Manhattan near Central Park. His parents valued education and ran a very tight house with no nonsense and plenty of manners. Al and Cora sent Jabbar to a few private Catholic schools where he proved to be very intelligent as well as athletic.While taking pride in his schoolwork, Jabbar showed pride in school athletics as well. By the time he was in the seventh grade, Jabbar was six feet five inches tall, and completely dominated other junior high kids. In fact, when was the mere age of thirteen years old, playing in an eighth grade basketball game, Jabbar caught a pass and “dunked” the basketball for the first time in his life (Margolies 10). His power continued on into his high school years where had grown to be just over seven feet tall. With a strong team behind him, Jabbar led them to seventy-one straight victories (Knapp 7). All in all, Jabbar led his team to ninety-five games and only six losses, as well as three city titles. He also set an all-time city record of 2,067 points and 2,002 rebounds (Sanford & Green 13). With all this recognition, Jabbar earned a scholarship to one of the best athletically inclined schools in the nation, UCLA.In the spring of 1965, Jabbar held a press conference and announced that he would be attending UCLA. There were many factors to the school that made Kareem Abdul-Jabbar choose this school in particular. UCLA had just won two straight national titles, they had a new basketball arena, and an outstanding coach. He also like the sunny, open campus. Jabbar said that he had seen more pretty girls there in one day than he had seen all summer back at home in Central Park (Sanford & Green 13). So, with a bright future ahead of him, Jabbar began to work his magic for the UCLA Bruins. His first varsity game was in December of 1967, and he scored a school record of 56 points. From that game on, history was made. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ended his first season with a 29 point average, making 66.7% of his field attempts. This set an NCAA record. Jabbar continued playing like a star for a Bruin team that ended up taking the national title all three years that he was a member of the team. After his last year at UCLA, Jabbar was looking on to bigger and better things with his basketball career. He was keeping his eyes focused on the goal of becoming a professional basketball player.Kareem Abdul-Jabbar s NBA career started out with the Milwaukee Bucks, the worst team in the league. With a 1.4 million dollar five year contract, Jabbar signed and began playing with the Bucks that coming season. On October 18, the Bucks opened there season against the Detroit Pistons (Sanford & Green 23). The team that lost so many consecutive games pulled through with the help of their new star player, and beat the Pistons 119-110. He scored 29 points, had 12 rebounds, three blocked shots, and three steals. In a time span of that one season, Jabbar had improved the Milwaukee team so much that they made it to the play-offs. Though they did not beat the New York Knicks, the Bucks had a great season and most of the recognition belonged to Jabbar.
In the following year, the Bucks again made it to the play-offs. They swept past San Francisco and Los Angeles. That win against the LA Lakers put the Bucks in the NBA Finals against the Baltimore Bullets (which is now the Washington Wizards). Jabbar led the team to the championship by beating the Bullets in four straight games. This was the first championship the Milwaukee Bucks had ever brought home. Due to the fact that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the main reason the Bucks won the championship, he was given MVP honors. Kareem won MVP three times while playing for the Bucks, but he decided that it was time to move on. Kareem returned to his college town of LA and signed with the Lakers.Playing for the Lakers was a tough job for Jabbar because it involved several rebuilding years. They lost and gained a few players, and then the team finally came together. The Lakers won 33 of its first 50 games, and the fans were starting to look towards the play-offs. Those dreams were cut short by Seattle. In four straight games, Seattle sent the Lakers packing, and many people blamed the loss on Jabbar. Sportscasters were saying “he is getting old and lazy” (Sanford & Green 31). Yet, the bad mouthing did not keep him down. The following season, Kareem paired up with Magic Johnson and together they led the team to a championship title. Jabbar won his sixth MVP award year, causing sportscasters to eat the words right out of their mouths. Jabbar was even awarded the Sports Illustrated “Man of the Year” award. The success of this young man continued well on into the late 1980 s, and then the time came when he decided to retire.After the 1988-1989 season came to an end, Jabbar decided it was time to let go of his basketball career. He agreed to a farewell tour, and every NBA began planning a night in the man s honor. The tour began in New York, where his life also began. At 42 years old, Kareem had beaten the odds in the sport. The average NBA career last about four years, and he survived long after that. With six MVP s under his belt, six NBA titles, and the recognition of the greatest scorer in the history of the game of basketball, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar retired from the sport.Kareem now enjoys his life away from basketball. His new hobbies include reading, resting, and pursuing new projects. He knows that any player that enters the NBA will be measured up to Jabbar s 20 years of excellence. He says he remembers his playing years with pride. “I won t be able to taste those moments again, ” he says, ” but they will not be forgotten.” And they will not be forgotten in the world of basketball either.Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is one of the few greatest players in the history of professional basketball. His work ethic set a new standard on what the phrase “working hard” really means on and off the court. He also set the standard for future basketball players to live up to. He is one talented man who deserves his place in the basketball hall of fame. His many accomplishments and skills improved the game of basketball as well as making it entertaining for people to watch. Kareem Abdul-Jabar is an immortal sports figure in the game of basketball.