Lakers’ legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar reveals his childhood desire of playing for “major enemy” New York Knicks

The New York Knicks are notorious for missing out on some of the NBA’s biggest stars, with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar possibly the most significant one. As a child, Abdul-Jabbar dreamed of playing for the Knicks, but the team’s rival Bill Russell and his Boston Celtics ultimately won him over.

Despite this, when Abdul-Jabbar requested a trade from the Milwaukee Bucks, he named the Knicks as his preferred destination, hoping to return to his Harlem roots. Unfortunately, the Knicks failed to capitalize on this opportunity, and Abdul-Jabbar landed in Los Angeles instead.

At the 2023 All-Star Weekend, Abdul-Jabbar reflected on the missed opportunity, citing the bitter rivalry between the Knicks and Lakers as a potential factor. The Celtics-Lakers rivalry of the 1980s is often viewed as a defining era in NBA history, but the Knicks and Lakers’ battles in the late 1960s and early 1970s were just as instrumental in shaping the league’s landscape.

During this period, the two teams met in the NBA Finals three times, with the Lakers winning twice.

Despite Abdul-Jabbar not being part of these matchups, his addition to the Knicks could have added even more excitement and drama to the already intense rivalry. Unfortunately for Knicks fans, the team failed to secure Abdul-Jabbar’s services, and he went on to become a legendary figure for the Lakers, helping the team win five NBA championships.

The Knicks have a long history of missing out on top talent, with Stephen Curry, Donovan Mitchell, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander being just a few examples.

However, the failure to secure Abdul-Jabbar’s services might be the most significant of them all. Had he joined the Knicks, he could have helped them become a dominant force in the NBA and potentially change the course of the team’s history.

While Knicks fans may never know what could have been, Abdul-Jabbar’s desire to play for the team highlights the franchise’s prestige and allure. Even today, the Knicks remain one of the most iconic teams in the NBA, with a loyal fan base that eagerly awaits the team’s next superstar acquisition.



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