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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: The oldest Finals MVP


Arguments can be made that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the greatest player that ever played the game. Being the NBA’s All-Time leading scorer helps that argument, but another point to be made is the longevity of Abdul-Jabbar’s dominance.

Kareem's second Finals MVP award came an amazing 14 years after his first one, and his performance was equally as impressive. The Lakers' center was dominant against the Celtics, averaging 28.4 points and 10.2 rebounds per game from Games 2 through 6 (Game 1, known as the "Memorial Day Massacre," was a complete lost cause in which Kareem played just 22 minutes).

After losing Game 1 in what was later named ‘The Memorial Day Massacre’ the Lakers would take over the series winning four of the next five games including Game 6 in Boston to end the series. This would mark the first time the Lakers defeated the Celtics in the NBA Finals and the first time any team ended a series in the Boston Garden.

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He then came back with a strong Game 2 (30 points, 17 rebounds, eight assists, three blocks) that helped the Lakers pull even at 1-1 and effectively seize momentum as they headed back to Los Angeles. Kareem was then the difference in the deciding Game 6, scoring 29 points in the hostile Boston Garden as the Lakers captured their first championship against the Celtics after failing to beat them in the franchises' eight previous Finals matchups.

Kareem was dominant against the Celtics front line, posting averages of 25.7 points, nine rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.5 blocks, and 1 steal. In a must win Game 5 Kareem poured in 36 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, and three blocks in the Lakers 120-111 win. In the clinching Game 6 Kareem dropped 29 points, seven rebounds, and four assists.

At some point between Games 2 and 6, Abdul-Jabbar rediscovered the fountain of youth. Maybe it was during his team’s film session after Game 1, when he abandoned his usual seat in the back to sit in the front row.

“His body language said, ‘Let me see all my mistakes. Let me see that horror show.’ That’s how Kareem was,”

At 38 years and 54 days old, Abdul-Jabbar was named Finals MVP, the oldest in NBA history.

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