Before Michael Jordan and LeBron James, many fans considered Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to be the greatest player of all time. Formerly known as Lew Alcindor, the big man entered the league in 1969 and went on to have one of the most dominant careers in the history of the league.
Kareem led the Milwaukee Bucks to the NBA championship in just his second season, bringing them their only NBA championship at the time. And when he left to join the Los Angeles Lakers in 1975, he stepped up his game to an incredible degree.
He won 5 more NBA championships in Los Angeles, dominating the 80s alongside fellow superstar Magic Johnson. Kareem eventually retired in 1989, with 6 NBA championships, 5 regular-season MVPs, and becoming the highest scorer in NBA history, a record that still stands to this day.
Abdul-Jabbar became one of the greatest big men of all time, much like his former idol Wilt Chamberlain, with whom he shared an intense rivalry. But before he was in the NBA, Kareem played for UCLA and was a true sensation there.
His performances with UCLA helped them win 3 consecutive NCAA national championships, and led to him being named National College Player Of The Year and an All-American all 3 years he was there.
But the extent of his dominance goes unnoticed because of how long ago it was. At one point, Kareem was dominating so much that the NCAA had to intervene.
The NCAA instituted the 'Lew Alcindor Rule', which banned dunking during games between 1967 to 1975. The post and the video above, by ballnumbers and Wilt Chamberlain Archive respectively, shed light on why the NCAA had to step in.
But that rule only helped Kareem improve his game. Not being allowed to dunk, Abdul-Jabbar developed what became his signature shot: the skyhook. Working on that shot in college helped him use it in the NBA to great success, helping him become one of the greatest scorers of all time.
Given how incredible his NBA career was, it becomes easy to forget that Kareem was also a spectacular collegiate player. In fact, many fans even consider him the greatest collegiate basketball player of all time.