Greatest Players in NBA History: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

In this weekly blog I'm going to pick one of the top players in NBA history as voted on in this project and discuss some of his career accomplishments…in other words, what made him so great that he deserves a spot among the greatest?  This week’s player is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, another on the short list of players with an argument for Greatest of All Time status.  Abdul-Jabbar’s case is built on shear domination in numbers and accolades that compares favorably with any player in history.

1. Abdul-Jabbar is the only player in NBA history with at least six MVP awards AND six NBA championship rings.  Bill Russell has 11 rings and five MVPS, while Michael Jordan has six rings and five MVPs.  No other player has more than four MVPs.

2. Abdul-Jabbar made All NBA first team a whopping 10 times, and made first team All Defense another five times.  He was also the Rookie of the Year in 1970, and a two-time Finals MVP (including his 1985 award at age 38, making him the oldest Finals MVP in history).

3. Abdul-Jabbar is also arguably the greatest collegiate player ever, with two AP Player of the Year awards and three Final Four Most Outstanding Player awards in only three seasons of eligibility at UCLA.

4. Abdul-Jabbar is the NBA all-time leader in points and minutes played, is third in rebounds, third in blocks (weren’t even counted until his fifth season), and even 35th in assists.

In the project linked above, Abdul-Jabbar finished no. 3 overall behind Michael Jordan and Bill Russell.  I was one that voted Russell above Kareem, because to me his year-to-year impact on team results was higher than Kareem's was.  On the flip side, I could have been convinced to vote Kareem over Jordan had they ever been the head-to-head vote.  I'm interested to hear if any of you have any takes on where Kareem rates on your GOAT list, and what made him the best (jestomjaz, I'm looking at you in particular).


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