DW: Okay I’m going to out myself now. To be honest I thought that the Lakers wasted a pick on Andrew Bynum. At times I sent word through a mutual friend of ours telling you that, only to hear back that I was wrong. You have done an absolutely amazing job with Andrew. I think if he can stay healthy he can be a superstar, but the reason I think he can become a superstar is not because he is going to be the type of player like you, Wilt, or Shaq was, I think at this time in history the center position is the weakest it has ever been. Have you ever seen in your lifetime the position being so limited? One more thing, why is it that players no longer want to play with their back to the rim?
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Players don’t want to play with their back to the rim because they all have grown up watching Dr. J and Michael Jordan and they want to be out there dunking the basketball or shooting three pointers. The whole idea of getting post position and starting your offense eight or ten feet from the hoop which gives you a big advantage, they don’t understand it, it is a part of the fine points of the game that have not made the transition over the generations and unless somebody points this out to them and forces them to deal with it, they would rather just keep their toes on the three point line and practice three point shots. It has affected everybody in the game, and it has to do with the fact that the game isn’t coached very well at the grade school level. In grade school is really where you learn the game and get an understanding of what is happening at the hoop, and that is the easiest place to play the game, so many guys don’t understand that. My good fortune with Andrew was he knew that he needed to learn a few things and he was willing to listen to me and work hard. I thank him and his mother did a hell of a job raising him as a single mom. He still had some respect and patience and was not full of himself to the point where you couldn’t approach him and teach him some things that he didn’t know.
DW: My one question about him is why doesn’t he shoot the skyhook?
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: He doesn’t shoot the skyhook because he thinks that he doesn’t have the grace and the fluidity that I have. That’s okay he can shoot it, it doesn’t matter how it looks, the only thing that matters is does it go in the hoop.
DW: I see now that he isn’t reluctant to shoot a hook shot now, but no vaunted swing left shoot right or swing right and shoot left, you know, like you use to do with the greatest of ease. That shot is made for him, he would destroy the league with it. I sincerely believe he could do it, don’t you?
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: At times he does it in practice, but he doesn’t seem to want to try it in games. He is so young, his ego is such that he doesn’t want to fail at anything. That is a problem with young people, they want everything they do to work, instead of earning it and going through the learning process and failing a few times.
DW: So in essence you are saying he doesn’t want to shoot it because of the way it looks and because he won’t look like you, but I think regardless whether he looks as graceful as you did when you shot it or not, he is so tall and his arms are so long that no one could defend it and it would be the perfect shot for him.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: It’s the perfect shot for him, but he doesn’t have the confidence or desire to use it. He does other things that make the Lakers tough. He would’ve really benefited if he had learned what he learned from me and gone to college, he would’ve been a monster after two or three years of college ball.
DW: I think learning from one of the greatest of all time has its benefits.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Well it has for him, and it’s been good for both of us.
DW: Do you think he will be ready by playoff time?
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: I hope so, he is willing to work hard and he is doing everything he is supposed to do. Unfortunately with the type of injury he has it will only allow him to rest it. The injury had nothing to do as far as it being his fault, Kobe accidentally rolled over the back of his leg similar to what happens to an NFL lineman.
DW: Definitely, a freak injury.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: It was an unfortunate MCL Tear
Edited by MDI, March 02, 2009 - 10:55 AM.