Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has high praise for LeBron James’s overall impact as a sportsperson on and off the field

One of the most celebrated basketball players of all time, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar appeared on First Take today. He praised LeBron James’s impact on and off the court.

Celebrating the Lakers’ 17th championship, the Lakers legend, who’s won 5 of those with the franchise, believes that James would be a pantheon great based just on his on-court performances. But what James has done for the community off it elevates him even further.

“I think people will remark on the quality of his presence in 3 different cities. He brought the championship each time. That’s pretty impressive and I think if that’s the only legacy he had, it’s extraordinary. But he’s done more than that, both on the court and off the court.”

“That’s why I have a lot of respect for him – the way that he’s involved politically and socially. Sending all those kids to school. He’s an amazing individual and I think Los Angeles is lucky to have him and embrace the community.”

Kareem definitely knows about what he’s talking. He was a crucial part of a number of championship runs – he won 6 titles overall as well as 6 MVP trophies. Not only was Kareem the face of the NBA for the 70s, he also took a stand against the Vietnam War and didn’t participate in the 1968 Olympics.

Kareem is often glossed over in the GOAT discussion, but there are few who would doubt him as one of the top 3 players in history. He was the greatest player in NCAA history, going 88-2 with UCLA under coach John Wooden. He dominated high school basketball before that in Harlem.

Overall, there’s a bit of work to do even for LeBron before he becomes an icon in the city of LA at Kareem’s level. ‘The Captain’, as everyone fondly called the oft-grumpy Kareem, will always be a Laker legend. His jersey deservedly hangs in the rafters of Staples Center.


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