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Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I’m happy to announce a little partnership between ourselves and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. We’ll be cross-blogging with perhaps the best center ever to play in the NBA and he’ll be answering two questions a month for us. I’m awfully excited about our agreement because it’s not often a middling blogger like myself gets to enjoy direct communication with such an all-time great in the world of sports. With that in mind, I’ll move to this month’s questions, which were asked with the NBA Finals in mind — well, Dwight Howard, anyway.

Intentional Foul
Kareem, a lot has been said about the predictability comment, but, when you look at a player like Dwight Howard, how good do you think he can be? Further, how good would he be if he played in your era, especially considering athletic freaks like Howard weren’t exactly commonplace?

Kareem
I think someone with his physical gifts could play in any era and if he had come along in the 70′s or 80′s he would have had the opportunity to go to college and polish all aspects of his game.

IF
If you were starting a basketball team comprised of all-time players, who would be your first pick?

Kareem
Bill Russell because of his ability to be a prime factor in making his team win.

I’ve found Kareem’s points about Howard interesting. It’s obvious D-12′s talent and athleticism is acknowledged, as well as his incredible potential. Kareem sees the same potential as well, and coming from a time when most, if not all, professional athletes went to college, it’s certainly understandable why he thinks Howard should’ve gone. Furthermore, the point about collegiate basketball polishing his game is spot-on.

During Orlando’s entire run throughout the playoffs, if the team was struggling, a number of critics looked directly at Howard’s fledgling post game, Kareem included. From KAJ’s perspective, imagine how good Howard would be if he had a coach like John Wooden showing him the correct way to be a dominant post player, instead of relying on dunking the basketball.

To his credit, Dwight’s post game has improved. See those hook shots he converted against the Lakers — but to say he doesn’t need some polish means you aren’t watching closely enough.

I was surprised about KAJ’s answer of Bill Russell, however, especially considering how well he and Magic Johnson played together. To me, this just proves how important a dominant big man was in Kareem’s era. It also echos Phil Jackson’s thoughts of taking Dwight over LeBron James.

We’ll be back next month with another installment. If you have any questions you’d like to see Kareem answer, send them to me.