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Kareem: "Dwight committed to winning. Bynum is up & down"


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#1 MDI

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Posted August 14, 2012 - 09:24 PM

http://www.latimes.c...89.story?page=1

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was once a young dominant center who was traded to the Lakers, like Howard was last week. He says Howard will bring the energy every game, something he says Andrew Bynum did not do.

Their stories are eerily similar, even if there is a gap of 37 years between them.

Each was the NBA's dominant center and each demanded to be traded. Both stars ended up with the Lakers and their deals sent shock waves across the league.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was 28 when he traded by the Milwaukee Bucks to the Lakers in 1975 as part of a six-player deal, while Dwight Howard, 26, arrived Friday as part of a four-team, 12-player trade that also sent Andrew Bynum to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Abdul-Jabbar won five of his six NBA titles with the Lakers and then spent several years as a special assistant coach working with Bynum.

In a wide-ranging interview with The Times, Abdul-Jabbar shared his thoughts about the Howard trade, the pressure on the Lakers to win another title and how he ranks among the team's all-time centers.

"The Lakers did a great job this off-season improving the team, Dwight being the latest," Abdul-Jabbar said. "Getting Steve Nash was a big deal. He's one of the best players in the league at his position. In addition, they replaced Andrew with Dwight Howard and that was nothing short of a coup.

"They've done a great job and managed to keep Pau [Gasol]. It will make for a formidable team."

As talented as the Lakers' roster is, he said, several things must happen to ensure a championship season.

"Giving the personalities a chance to mesh" is critical, Abdul-Jabbar said. "Everyone understands the game, especially Pau, Nash, Kobe [Bryant] and Metta [World Peace]. They all have great basketball IQ. It's not about them being knowledgeable. You just have to mesh their personalities and playing styles together in a smooth way."


Howard joins a lengthy list of celebrated Lakers centers: George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O'Neal. Howard has career averages of 18.4 points, 13 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and has won the NBA's defensive player of the year award in three of the last four seasons.

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"I don't know if he needs to change his game that much," Abdul-Jabbar said. "He just needs to show up and give what he normally does. He's a beast on the boards. He plays on both ends of the floor. And he provides post-up points."

Abdul-Jabbar likes Howard's energy on the court.

"Dwight is very committed to playing and winning," Abdul-Jabbar said. "Andrew has been up and down on that issue. There are times he wants to play, do a great job and he goes out and does it. Then there are other times where it seems like he's not focused."


Bynum was benched during a game last season for launching an ill-advised three-pointer and was fined by the team for his conduct. He was also ejected from two games in a two-week span and he sometimes acknowledged lacking effort. Those incidents soured an otherwise breakout season. Bynum posted career highs in points (18.7) and rebounds (11.8) and made his first All-Star team.

Abdul-Jabbar said he saw Bynum's focus wane when he worked with him from 2005 to 2009. He said his coaching duties were significantly scaled back in the 2008-09 season after Bynum expressed a lack of interest to the Lakers' staff in working with Abdul-Jabbar.

"When I first started working with him, he was eager to learn," Abdul-Jabbar said. "He appreciated me shortening the learning curve. Once he figured he did everything he wanted to do in terms of learning, he didn't want me to bother him constantly going over the fundamentals."

Abdul-Jabbar said he was unsure if Bynum would thrive in a larger role in Philadelphia: "It's up to him to determine how much of a leader he wants to be and how to make that happen on the court. Some people like that position and adjust to it naturally. Other people aren't comfortable with it."

Abdul-Jabbar relates to Howard's situation because both asked to be traded.


Although Abdul-Jabbar had won a championship with Milwaukee, he believed that Oscar Robertson's retirement in 1974 significantly hurt the team's chances of winning another title. So he asked the front office to trade him to either the New York Knicks or the Lakers.

Milwaukee owner Wes Pavalon and he stayed quiet about the trade request for eight months until the Bucks traded Abdul-Jabbar to the Lakers in June 1975. "He understood I wanted to leave and didn't make it difficult," Abdul-Jabbar said of Pavalon. "He just wanted some time to make the best thing he could for the franchise."

Despite winning his fourth MVP award in his first season with the Lakers, Abdul-Jabbar didn't win a title in L.A. until Magic Johnson's rookie season in 1979-80.

Mikan, Chamberlain and O'Neal all won championships with the Lakers. How does Abdul-Jabbar rank himself with those legends?

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"Mikan was all about scoring and rebounding. When Wilt got to the Lakers, he was a defensive player, mainly. He didn't have his great offensive years here as he did earlier in his career. When I got with the team, I was playing both ends of the court. I scored a lot, rebounded and blocked shots," Abdul-Jabbar said.

"When we got the right pieces with Jamaal [Wilkes], Magic [Johnson] and Norm Nixon, things really fell into place and we were able to win consistently and be contenders. Shaq's teams were great with him and Kobe. They had great balance in scoring and Shaq gave them an inside threat."

Now the pressure is on Howard and Nash to add to the team's collection of titles.

"Just the addition of those guys makes them contenders," Abdul-Jabbar said. "I'm not going to predict they'll win it all. But the proof is in the pudding. They put the pieces in that place to make it happen."


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Props to sidthekid871


#2 Projekt

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Posted August 14, 2012 - 09:30 PM

I'm surprised Kareem would say all this, but everything he says is true. His commitment and immature attitude are the reasons why so many fans turned on him.

#3 Artest37

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Posted August 14, 2012 - 09:48 PM

They hired kaj33 to tutor Bynum for a bit, I'm sure he knows his tendencies. I agree with most everything he said.

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#4 Yaboy

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Posted August 14, 2012 - 09:57 PM

Seen the video where h e says this.

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"Love me or hate me it's one or the other. Always has been. Hate my game, hate my swagger, hate my fade-away, my hunger, hate that i'm a veteran, A champion, hate that. Hate it with all your heart, and hate that i'm loved for the exact same reasons." - Kobe


#5 phifedogg76

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Posted August 14, 2012 - 10:07 PM

I have to agree too, I would believe KAJ before anyone on here or even anything coming from the media because he dealt with him first hand
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#6 last stand 2.0

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Posted August 14, 2012 - 10:11 PM

Ya Kareem and Bynum had a falling out in 2009 and probably hurt their relationship
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#7 bfc1125roy

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Posted August 14, 2012 - 10:13 PM

What Kareem's saying sounds about right to me. I'm still puzzled why Bynum chose to stop learning from him. Of course I don't know the whole story, but if I were Bynum, I'd be trying to soak up as much as I could if I had the chance to be under the wing of one of the greatest big men to every play.

#8 Artest37

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Posted August 14, 2012 - 10:17 PM

Weird that Bynum picked #33 for his 76ers jersey though.

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#9 BiGGaVel

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Posted August 14, 2012 - 10:19 PM

I AGREE..thats why Dwight Howard will be loved and Bynum wont be missed
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#10 Hollywood

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Posted August 14, 2012 - 10:20 PM

coming from KAJ himself a teacher/mentor to him as he was developing kind of surprised. Still everything he says hold true and last year and the year before where he had a major role in the team it was always people thinking he would grow out of it and such. People even comparing him to Kobes attitude when he was in his early 20s only diffrence is Kobe never slacked on the court or have fourth poor effort for a night. I think Bynum thought he was untouchable and his ego was inflated by the rumors and Jim Buss faith in him that he thought he was never going to be moved and thought he was the future. Surprise Surprise :laughing:
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#11 Hollywood

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Posted August 14, 2012 - 10:21 PM

Ya Kareem and Bynum had a falling out in 2009 and probably hurt their relationship


Everything he says still holds true.
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#12 Majesty

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Posted August 14, 2012 - 10:28 PM

Weird that Bynum picked #33 for his 76ers jersey though.


He probably still has a lot of respect for Kareem and somewhere in the back of his mind he regrets shunning him in 2009. After having to go through 3 years having to learn the hard way without Kareem there I'm sure he wishes he didn't.

But like Kobe said "It's about letting him grow up" this experience in Philly without Kobe there etc will either make and humble him or break him. We'll see. I think he'll do great, but with a franchise on his shoulders THIS will be the test. I'd be more happy if I read a news report that Bynum reached out to Kareem and wanted to work with him again, but I don't see that happening as of yet.

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#13 Red September

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Posted August 14, 2012 - 11:10 PM

It's sad for Bynum. Hopefully he can learn and be big in the east.

Btw when will Kareem get his own statue. GOAT

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Posted August 15, 2012 - 04:20 AM

He probably realized this even more as soon as Bynum basically dropped him as his mentor & personal instructor.

yo.


#15 MyJohnsonIsMagic

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Posted August 15, 2012 - 05:12 AM

Kareem tells it like it is...anyone remember this?

Dear Scottie,

I have nothing but respect for you my friend as an athlete and knowledgeable basketball mind. But you are way off in your assessment of who is the greatest player of all time and the greatest scorer of all time. Your comments are off because of your limited perspective. You obviously never saw Wilt Chamberlain play who undoubtedly was the greatest scorer this game has ever known. When did MJ ever average 50.4 points per game plus 25.7 rebounds? (Wilt in the 1962 season when blocked shot statistics were not kept). We will never accurately know how many shots Wilt blocked. Oh, by the way in 1967 and 68, Wilt was a league leader in assists. Did MJ ever score 100 points in a game? How many times did MJ score more than 60 points in a game? MJ led the league in scoring in consecutive seasons for 10 years but he did this in an NBA that eventually expanded into 30 teams vs. when Wilt played and there were only 8 teams.

Every team had the opportunity to amass a solid nucleus. Only the cream of the basketball world got to play then. So MJ has to be appraised in perspective. His incredible athletic ability, charisma and leadership on the court helped to make basketball popular around the world -- no question about that. But in terms of greatness, MJ has to take a backseat to The Stilt.

In terms of winning, Michael excelled as both an emotional and scoring leader but Bill Russell’s Celtics won eight consecutive NBA Championships. Bill's rebounding average per game is over 22.5 lifetime, MJs best rebounding years was eight per game (1989). But we will never know exactly how many shots Bill Russell blocked because again, they never kept that statistic while he played. However, if you ask anybody that played against Russell, they will just roll their eyes and say he blocked all the shots he wanted to block in the crucial moments of a game.

Bill played on a total of 11 championship teams and as you very well know, Scottie, the ring is the thing, and everything else is just statistics. So I would advise you to do a little homework before crowning Michael or LeBron with the title of best ever. As dominant as he is, LeBron has yet to win a championship. I must say that it looks like Miami has finally put the team together that will change that circumstance. Its my hope that today’s players get a better perspective on exactly what has been done in this league in the days of yore.

Affectionately,
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar,
NBA’s All-Time Leading Scorer

Edited by FiveSixDeuce, August 15, 2012 - 05:13 AM.


#16 manaro90

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Posted August 15, 2012 - 05:31 AM

Man I love Kareems discussion about this trade and I mostly agree with him.

Bynum and Howard are some way very similair

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#17 UKUGA

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Posted August 15, 2012 - 06:26 AM

It became clearer and clearer with each passing year that Bynum was never going to be the guy to carry the franchise forward after Kobe retired.

The Lakers got blind-sided by Magic's retirement in 1991, and it took them 5 years to obtain another premier player.

Since that time, they have shown that they never want to go without a marquee name wearing a Lakers jersey. Bynum was given a chance, but they decided they couldn't trust the franchise with him.

Enter Dwight. Even if the Lakers slip a bit after 2014, it will be short-lived. Dwight could still carry the team to a 4/5 seed by himself for a year, until they acquired what they needed to righ the ship again.

Bynum was never going to be able to do this. Even in Philly, people still don't project the 76ers as more than #5 with Bynum as the go-to guy. The West is tougher. I shudder to think at what the 2014-5 Lakers might've looked like with Bynum making $20 million/year and limited talent around him.

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#18 GCMD

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Posted August 15, 2012 - 08:56 AM

Kareem is one of my favorite PEOPLE of all time. He's articulate, intelligent, insightful and deep. When he speaks, you want everyone around you to shut up so you don't miss anything. When he comments, he does so for the benefit of the world.


Great, GREAT man who will never get the respect he deserves.


The Buss family and the NBA HAS to find a way of commemorating the career of one of the greatest PEOPLE and PLAYERS it has ever seen.

#19 pointguard11

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Posted August 15, 2012 - 09:03 AM

Ya Kareem and Bynum had a falling out in 2009 and probably hurt their relationship

Kareem has had a falling out with almost everyone. He is still one of the greats and a good person however he can be a bit of an ass at times. I think the whole thing about him whining about a statue is an example.
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#20 pointguard11

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Posted August 15, 2012 - 09:06 AM

It became clearer and clearer with each passing year that Bynum was never going to be the guy to carry the franchise forward after Kobe retired.

The Lakers got blind-sided by Magic's retirement in 1991, and it took them 5 years to obtain another premier player.

Since that time, they have shown that they never want to go without a marquee name wearing a Lakers jersey. Bynum was given a chance, but they decided they couldn't trust the franchise with him.

Enter Dwight. Even if the Lakers slip a bit after 2014, it will be short-lived. Dwight could still carry the team to a 4/5 seed by himself for a year, until they acquired what they needed to righ the ship again.

Bynum was never going to be able to do this. Even in Philly, people still don't project the 76ers as more than #5 with Bynum as the go-to guy. The West is tougher. I shudder to think at what the 2014-5 Lakers might've looked like with Bynum making $20 million/year and limited talent around him.

Depends with what talent the Lakers acquire. They would probably be able to sign to big free agents at that time since they have cleared out cap space for that summer.
"The way Steve is as a teammate, the way he sets the tone, the way the team kind of takes on his persona. As a coach, that's the best thing in the world. It's easy to coach. He's taking care of the chemistry. You just coach."

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