Alcindor took the shahada twice during the summer of 1968, converting from Catholicism to Sunni Islam. He changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in Arabic, although he didn’t start using it publicly until 1971.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Biography
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is an American former professional basketball player who spent 20 seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Abdul-Jabbar was a record six-time NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP), a record 19-time NBA All-Star, a 15-time All-NBA selection, and an 11-time NBA All-Defensive Team member during his career as a centre.
Abdul-Jabbar was a member of six NBA championship teams as a player and two more as an assistant coach, and was named NBA Finals MVP twice. In addition, he was named to the 35th, 50th, and 75th-anniversary teams of the league. NBA coach Pat Riley and players Isiah Thomas and Julius Erving dubbed him “the greatest basketball player of all time” after he was named one of the top players in NBA history.
Power Memorial, a private high school in New York City, won 71 consecutive basketball games with him on the team. Jerry Norman, an assistant coach at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), recruited him after he played on three consecutive national championship teams for coach John Wooden.
He was the NCAA Tournament MVP three times in a row, setting a new record. Alcindor spent six seasons in Milwaukee after being selected first overall in the 1969 NBA draught by the one-year-old Bucks team. He adopted the Muslim name Kareem Abdul-Jabbar after guiding the Bucks to their first NBA title at the age of 24 in 1971.
He established himself as one of the league’s best scorers because of his characteristic skyhook shot. He was moved to the Lakers in 1975, where he spent the next 14 seasons of his career, winning five more NBA championships. In the Showtime era of Lakers basketball, Abdul-efforts Jabbar’s were crucial. During his 20-year NBA career, his teams made the playoffs 18 times and advanced past the first round 14 times, with ten trips to the NBA Finals.
Abdul-Jabbar was the NBA’s all-time leader in points (38,387), games played (1,560), minutes (57,446), field goals made (15,837), field goal attempts (28,307), blocked shots (3,189), defensive rebounds (9,394), career victories (1,074), and personal fouls when he retired at the age of 42 in 1989. (4,657).
He still holds the record for most points scored, field goals made, and career wins. He is the all-time leader in rebounding and blocked shots. He was ranked the greatest centre of all time by ESPN in 2007, the greatest player in college basketball history by ESPN in 2008, and the second-best player in NBA history by ESPN in 2016 (after Michael Jordan).
Abdul-Jabbar has also worked as an actor, basketball teacher, best-selling author, and martial artist, having trained in Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do and appearing in his film Game of Death (1972). Secretary of State Hillary Clinton named Abdul-Jabbar as a U.S. global cultural ambassador in 2012. President Barack Obama bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom on him in 2016.
Why did Kareem Change His name – Full Story?
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is undoubtedly one of basketball’s most well-known figures. The six-time NBA MVP and a record 19-time NBA All-Star was a key member of the Los Angeles Lakers’ Showtime Era, during which they won numerous titles and established themselves as one of the league’s most successful teams. The drama series ‘Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty‘ depicts this period in LA Lakers history.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a key character in the series, and his contribution to the team’s success is fully highlighted. However, the series barely skims over Abdul-past, Jabbar’s leaving much to the imagination of the viewer.
The 5th episode delves into Abdul-decision Jabbar’s to convert to Islam and change his given name to the one that has become synonymous with the Lakers’ Showtime Era. Here’s everything you need to know about the reasoning for these decisions if you’re curious!
Why did Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr convert to Islam and change his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar?
Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr is the birth name of NBA superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who was born on April 16, 1947, in Harlem, New York. Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Sr and Cora Lillian are his parents. Ferdinand’s father worked as a transit police officer and a jazz musician, while his mother worked as a price checker in a department shop.
Ferdinand became interested in basketball throughout high school and was unusually tall for his age. Ferdinand enrolled UCLA and played basketball for the Bruins after setting numerous school records. His undergraduate career set him on the path to become a celebrity.
Ferdinand converted to Islam and changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar during his stint as a college basketball player. Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr converted to Islam in 1971 at the age of 24 and chose the name Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (which means “the honourable one, servant of the Almighty“). Abdul-Jabbar has defined his decision to change his religion and name as a spiritual one in the years since converting to Islam. However, in an article for Al Jazeera America, Abdul-Jabbar finally spoke out about his decision in detail.
Abdul-Jabbar began to feel uncomfortable and dissatisfied as his superstar profile grew. However, after reading Malcolm X’s autobiography in college, Abdul-Jabbar was influenced by him. Malcolm X considered Christianity as a cornerstone of white civilization that was responsible for the slavery of African Americans, thereby supporting racism in society, according to him.
Islam, on the other hand, aided Malcolm X in discovering his true self and fighting societal injustice. Thus, Abdul-Jabbar began studying the Quran after being inspired by Malcolm X, eventually leading to his conversion to Islam under the supervision of Hamaas Abdul-Khaalis.
According to Abdul-Jabbar, his surname “Alcindor” was derived from a French plantation in the West Indies that was the master of many of his forefathers. He believed that continuing to use the name of his family’s slave master was a disgrace to his ancestors.
In the piece, Abdul-Jabbar added, “The adopting of a new name was an extension of my rejection of all things in my life that related to the captivity of my family and people.” As a result, he changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Abdul-decision Jabbar’s to convert to Islam is ultimately motivated by his desire for spiritual awakening.
The name change symbolises Abdul-deep Jabbar’s devotion to Islam as well as his pride in his ethnic heritage.
Who wants to virtually HANG with me and @BillWalton during the Final Four Championship Game and a few more Pro + College stars! Just go to @letshanglive link in bio for free tickets! Bring your friends 🥳 and @letshanglive 🎟: https://t.co/1u5Gr0RuNu pic.twitter.com/nMF3yNLdVp
— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (@kaj33) April 2, 2022