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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar statistically might have had the worst three seasons at the latter end of his career but his sacrifice led to 2 championships.
Before he had his last dance in the NBA in the 1988-89 season, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, at 41 years of age helped the Los Angeles Lakers win an NBA championship which would be their last until Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal would win it in 2000.
It had to happen as he was approaching his 40s and despite the 7-foot-2 giant still averaging well over 23 points, 6 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.6 blocks a game in his 16th year (‘85-86), the Lakers had started limiting his minutes.
The Purple and Gold reached the NBA Finals in all of his final three years with the franchise as well as in the league. They won two of them and Captain Skyhook was still a crucial part of it all even with limited minutes.
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The 86-87 season was the first time Kareem averaged under 20 points in his career, playing just around 30 minutes a game, averaging just over 17 points per game. But as that season ended in championship success, neither Kareem nor the Lakers didn’t bother about anything else but winning.
The following year the Lakers again made it to the NBA Finals 1988 led by Magic Johnson
As they were facing Isiah Thomas’ Bad Boy Pistons and were tied at 2 games each, all of Johnson, Worthy, and Bryan Scott were finding it tough to buy a basket while being consistently hassled by their opponents.
The 41-year-old Kareem suddenly found his older self back and Skyhooked his way to lead the Lakers to a 2-point deficit twice after trailing the game by 9 or more points for a long time throughout the second quarter.
That fight back by their big old man didn’t go in vain. The Lakers won both the must-win games and lifted their 5th championship of that era. Jabbar retired a year after that when the Pistons beat the Lakers in 1989.
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A sports enthusiast, crazy about basketball and football. Like putting forward my opinion on the things I know about, but restrain myself from doing that in my articles because my job is to report. Cover everything Lakers and NBA-related, both old and new.
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