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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shares his experience working out with Bruce Lee

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shared his experience working with Bruce Lee while making the famous movie "The Game of Death." For more than 19 years, we have been privileged to witness the grace and agility of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He's 7-foot-2, 260-pound frame has been a staple on America's basketball courts since 1965 when he left New York City's playgrounds for Pauley Pavilion and UCLA.

But to martial arts fans, and more importantly Bruce Lee aficionados, Abdul-Jabbar ranks as one of the first, and certainly among the most famous, of the "Little Dragon's" early Los Angeles students. So enamored was Bruce Lee by the man then known as Lew Alcindor, that he cast him as the villain in the 1971 movie "The Game of Death".

Abdul-Jabbar's professional exploits have brought many accolades. He is the most prolific scorer in NBA history, a six-time most valuable player, and a member of five NBA championship teams. Among his most cherished moments, however, are the four years he spent with Bruce Lee. "I remember Bruce as a friend," notes the 41-year old Abdul-Jabbar.

Before they started to shot the movie "The Game of Death," Bruce Lee told Kareem to come to Hong Kong at the end of summer in 1971. When Kareem first met Bruce, he left a strong impression on Kareem from the start:

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"My first impression was this guy is really in shape. He knew what he was doing and was committed to his style of martial arts. It is very hard to have a difference of opinion with a guy like that. My impressions only got stronger as I knew him longer."

During the time Bruce and Kareem spent together, Bruce took on the role of a teacher while Kareem was a student. They trained together from 1967 up until 1971.

"He was a very demanding teacher. He would get frustrated with many of his students because he was in the greatest possible physical condition, and some of his students were not. If you were not in top shape, you could not keep up."

There was a lot of uncertainty about how well would Kareem be able to adapt to martial arts, especially because he was so much taller than everybody else. Kareem said Bruce was teaching him how to use his style to fight adjusted to his size. This was Kareem's first time standing in front of a camera, so I wanted to make sure everything was done in the best way possible.

"I was not nervous, but I did feel the pressure to perform – acting-wise. We were making money and had to make it work. Since I had no lines, we managed a good scene. It was my first full-length movie. I did not get hit during the performance, but at one point, we were sparring."

Kareem has a lot of praise for Bruce Lee and thought he was a superb actor and also a good friend. "I remember Bruce as a friend. The whole martial arts thing is secondary to our friendship."

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