Former NBA player and Boston Celtics legend Kevin McHale is a firm believer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the most underrated HOF player in the history of the game. While making an appearance on Dan Le Batard Show, McHale remembered his time with the Celtics and the famous rivalry with the Lakers. They faced off three times in the NBA finals and multiple times in the regular season during their reign in the ’80s, which allowed McHale to play against Kareem on numerous occasions.
During that time, he realized what made Kareem so great and one of the most clutch players of all-time. Even though everybody was impressed with the Lakers ‘Showtime’ style of play, they would go to Kareem whenever they needed a clutch basket. The sky-hook was the go-to-move for Hakeem, and even though everyone knew it was coming, it was impossible to stop it. You can either hope Kareem misses, but usually, he didn’t.
A guy I couldn’t stop was Kareem. We played in so many big games against those guys. Everybody thinks Magic, showtime Lakers, which they were, and Magic is one of the best players to ever play, but they went to Kareem late in the game on the right block, and you couldn’t do anything. You tried everything, and at the end of the day, you could not stop it. Thirty-eight thousand points, big shots, big games. I don’t think Kareem gets enough props as far as being one of the top five players of all-time.Kevin McHale, via ESPN Archive
Despite being the NBA’s best player for almost two decades, Kareem had a somewhat secretive demeanor, and nobody could figure him out. McHale remembers seeing Kareem reading a book at an All-Star game, completely uninterested in what is happening around him. Still, McHale considers him one of the best players in NBA history, who unfortunately doesn’t get enough attention from the media.
He didn’t say anything ever. You’d be at the All-Star event with 24 people there, and Kareem would just sit in the corner and read a book. I don’t know that many people that knew him well, but that guy could flat out play basketball. He was phenomenal, and I’m always shocked that Kareem doesn’t get any media mentions on the top players that ever played.Kevin McHale, via ESPN Archive
Counting out all the accolades Kareem won in his high school, college, and NBA career is almost impossible, and his resume speaks for itself. For some strange reason, he often gets left out in the GOAT debates even though there are still many people who respect him and recognize what he brought to the game of basketball. Just like McHale said, Kareem is the all-time leader in scored points and a proven winner who delivered big-time shots when his teams needed it the most.