It’s relatively easy to make a case for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the greatest player in NBA history. He is the ultimate winner and 6-time NBA champion with numerous MVP awards. To this day, he still holds the NBA all-time record for points, and to be honest, I don’t see anyone breaking it any time soon.
Kareem played 20 years in the NBA while suiting up for the Bucks and the Lakers. He won championships for both teams and was a solid contributor to his ball clubs in his first NBA season the same way he was in his last NBA season back in 1989. That may be the most impressive thing about his NBA campaign — how long he’s been able to do it.
Kareem the basketball player was the exact opposite of Kareem the celebrity. In fact, he was seen as aloof and uncomfortable. He didn’t have a Magic-like charisma to him. That’s why he was always more respected than beloved.
Nevertheless, we’re talking about one of the greatest to ever do it. And in his all-time great NBA career, he had some serious matchups to deal with. While talking to FOX Sports’ Chris Broussard, Kareem discovered who did he have the toughest time dealing with.
“Nate Thurmond was the best guy that guarded me. I had a tough time guarding people like McAdoo, Wes Unseld, guys who could shoot really good from the top of the key. They took me out of where I played the best defense.”Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, In The Zone
When asked about the best player he ever faced, the name Larry Legend was brought into the conversation. We all remember the famous rivalry between the Celtics and Lakers back in the 1980s, which brought so much excitement for any basketball fan out there. It was often Kareem on one side and Larry on the other that were leading their teams to the championships these teams won during those times.
The best guy I’ve played against might have been Larry Bird. People don’t appreciate Larry Bird enough. They think he is a chubby white guy, but he would wear us down. The muscle that is in between his ears was the best because he made three points, assisted, rebounded, and had steals. He was always in the right place at the right time. He is, without a doubt, one of the best players I’ve had ever played against.Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, In The Zone
One thing’s for sure; Larry Bird is very underrated. Especially with the younger generation that didn’t get the chance to live through his magic on NBA hardwoods. Maybe something like this will force them to look him up. I mean, it’s coming out of the mouth of one of the greatest ever. There’s no better validation.