Tuesday, July 26th, 2011 at 11:50 am  |  40 responses

Michael Olowokandi Had No Use for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Advice

In an editorial piece for ESPN, Kareem takes the immortal Kandi Man to task for refusing to listen to him (and others) back in the day, and blames that sort of attitude for Olowokandi’s disappoiting career: “Many teams are spending too much money on marginal talent. Most of the owners would tell you they have no problem paying the star-caliber players at the present rates, but they object to the salaries of players on the roster who don’t contribute enough. So we can probably expect to see the owners push for some form of a hard salary cap that will make it possible for the various franchises to lose some of the deadwood collecting big money as they ride the bench. This problem, too, is not really the players’ fault. The league has taken in a huge influx of unproven talent by drafting and signing very young players. In the old days, college was a great place for players to mature and learn the game. Now, with an entry age of 19, we see too many pampered, immature and uncoachable players coming into the NBA. I believe this has hurt both the pro game and the college game. The colleges are losing their best players to the pros, and the NBA has to keep these players on the bench while they (hopefully) develop the basketball IQ and maturity to play at the NBA level. However, that development doesn’t always happen; there are way too many washouts. I have seen this process firsthand. When I coached for the Clippers, I had to deal with Michael Olowokandi, a player who perfectly fit the description ‘talented but uncoachable.’ At practice, I would attempt to point out Mr. Olowokandi’s faults to him, ones he constantly repeated and resulted in lost possessions for the team or personal fouls that sent him to the bench. His reaction to my attempts to correct his bad habits was to take my input as a personal insult and embarrassment. He told me point-blank that he would not be criticized in front of the team. He stuck to his word and, as a result, had very few successful moments on the court playing the way he wanted to play. He took his place on the list of athletically gifted washouts who have been in and out of the league in the past 10 years.”

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  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Man, Kareem was a great player but he is pretty petty. Dude stores grudges like camels store water.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ 1982

    You tell em Cap.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    And the Kandi Man spent three years in college.
    So Kareem is not only a petty snitch undermining the unions cause in favor of steering money to the corrupt NCAA, but he also can’t be bothered with basic facts.

  • youngmuggsy

    Guys like Olowokandi are the Lil Waynes of the NBA, completely talentless but making a fortune regardless.

  • http://Nba.com GP23

    Kareem just wants to stay as the ‘all time scoring leader.’ I think he may be a little bitter still from the statue fiasco. Anyway, he has a point, why would anyone not appreciate his feedback? Dude was a legend.

  • SikhWitIt

    I don’t see this as petty at all, what he’s saying is true. From now on whenever Kareem speaks the truth and by chance offends someone, are we always going to hear about how “petty” he is?

  • JoeMaMa

    Kareem is one of the best ever. The fact that Olowokandi didn’t listen to him is insane. The head coach should’ve put him on BLAST when he heard about that. Say what you will about Kareem’s attitude, etc……but never disrespect an all time great when he’s showing the very skills that made him who he is. That’s like some amateur guitar player telling Hendrix, Slash, or Clapton to shut his mouth.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Kareem wants a coaching Job in the NBA….how the h*ll does he expect to get hired when he bashes players he used to work with. Or does Kareem just need attention? Maybe that’s whats happening, he does keep saying controversial stuff every couple weeks…for the past 2 years

  • bakers’-dozen

    He is pointing out the obvious, not bashing anybody that didn’t deserve it. Phil Jackson has called out players in the past and nobody is calling him petty. There’s a reason kareem played so long at such a high level, he knows his stuff. I particularly like the well-educated approach taken here. The grammar is solid and it reads like a novel. Kareem is educated, and he knows what he is talking about here. Even Shaq learned from Kareem.

  • T-Money

    i don’t consider kandi a wasted talent because he had very little talent to begin with – he literally picked up basketball in college. as for kareem, to be fair, no one wants to listen to him. andrew bynum basically fired him two seasons ago. at some point, kareem has to ask himself why no one wants to work with him or give him a job while players are running to dream for advice and other bigs like pat ewing and zo are staffers.

  • T-Money

    bakers’-dozen: phil jax has earned the right to call out players in public and, yes, people do call him petty. what has kareem done since he retired to call people out?

  • http://slamonline.com Mars

    I think what he was trying to say is Olowokandi was a #1 pick, and lets just say he didn’t live up to the hype. As petty as Kareem seems, im sure his insight could help considering there are ZERO big men in the league today with his talent. The Kareem’s, Olajuwon’s, Ewing’s, those guys are rare.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Writing about a player by name in a national magazine YEARS after that player stopped playing and getting basic facts wrong is bashing.
    If you spend three years in college, you are seasoned. Back in the day when Kareem came up you had to spend like four years in college, but you couldn’t play against elite comp until your soph year.
    More importantly, Kareem is bitching and moaning because somebody else didn’t take his advice. Like he did with Andrew Bynum for a hot second when he and Bynum separated.
    Kareem is constantly seeking the approval of other people and asking them to help them even as he takes dumb shots at them. It’s stupid. He was a great player. He was a stand up black man who spoke out against evil in his time. But right now, he’s a petty snitch who can’t be bothered with discovering that the player he’s maligning spent three years being tutored in the very college system he so loves.
    And just because something is true doesn’t mean it’s not disrespectful. I don’t know who told you people that, but it’s ludicrous. Think of all of your personal failings, the ones you know exist, and think if it would be disrespectful if somebody decided to blast you in a national magazine for those failings to make a ridiculous point that doesn’t even apply to you.
    That’s what Kareem just did.

  • Red Star

    Bynum pulled the same crap too! Apperently some of these kids were not taught to respect their elders! There are way too many divas in the league now!

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    ^Or Kareem sucks as a human these days. He was the man back in the day, but old age does strange things to people.

  • http://www.twitter.com/dfrance21 dfrance21

    He may be speaking the truth, but I think people are labeling him as petty because he’s been around FOREVER and never had anything to say. Now out of the blue he’s being vocal and all he’s doing is beeyotching and moaning about his perceived lack of respect and basically how guys have had crappy careers because they didn’t listen to him. I lost a little reepect for him because when he went on his “I deserve a statue” campaign, he was on Mike and Mike taking little shots at Magic like he deserved a statue before him. First off, its not Magics fault you don’t have a statue, secondly the Lakers were clearly Magics team. They weren’t called Showtime because of your skyhook.

  • http://twitter.com/BeezKneezy LA Huey

    Just give Kareem a reality TV show of him coaching a D-League team already. Then maybe he’ll stop whining to/in the press so much.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Kareem needs to chill before his legacy deteriorates to being known as a bitter old man who just happens to be the NBA all-time leader scorer.

  • dnice

    really ppl,,,The man was on the coaching staff to help,,he was trying to help the khandi man,,but khandi man thought he had the answers and wasnt gonna be critisized in front of the team,,,,thats why he was a bum,,if he had it all figured out he would have actually made an impact on the league !!!!

  • EJ

    Kareem’s personality also makes him seem even more of a petty person. If he was a loud mouth trash talker, nobody would call him petty.

  • bike

    Although one of greatest ever, Kareem never seemed to connect with the NBA environment very well. That’s a primary reason he never got called on to coach. Kareem is a very well educated, intelligent individual but he always had a distant and aloof quality about him. The relationship problem he had with MO could be equal parts MO’s stubbornness combined with Kareem’s inability to communicate. Kareem’s argument against early entries is antiquated; the NBA does a much better job now at player development and evaluation than it did in the past. Of course washouts do happen but I doubt the statistics would reveal a significant difference in the amount of time a player spends in college. Kareem, my man, times have changed.

  • RoG23

    to be fair, todays nba AND college game is guard based. alot of plays are ran for guards rather than playing inside out like the older days. because todays guards are so athletic, they can really do it all. guards can have a high number of turnovers in their rookie year, but people just say “he needs more experience” but when a big guy has his early struggles, theyre automatically “kwame brown”. i really do believe the reason talented big men are so rare is because of the coaching strategies of today, rather than the players ability itself.

  • RoG23

    look at kg for example. he was very talented but imagine if minnesota decided to put him aside and use their focus on stephon marbury. stephon wouldve developed and garnett would have had to take a back seat, which would have stunted his growth as a player and leader. because big men take LONGER to develop. but if you invest the time at practice AND in games, there will be a payoff. obviously this doesnt apply to uncoachable players with bad attitudes. that is the teams fault for signing them without calling old coaches and finding out their true characters

  • bull22

    if you can’t be smart enough to listen to the all time leading scorer in nba history, then you deserve to suck…. and michael was a stinka on the court… nuff said!

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Every high draft pick / rotation player gets attentian to be developed. Its the nba not highschool, their is more then one person being pid by each team to aid in development. The majority of te time they are hired for specific positions/types of development. Marbury & Garnett and every other young potential star in the nba over the past 20 years each received as much attention as they were willing to deal with.

  • RoG23

    @nbk not true. every nba franchise has its preferences. look at the spurs, superb big men because of superb coaching and superb ownership. lakers? superb big men because of superb ownership and coaching. magic? look what happend to shaq? now howard? some franchises are just not that obsessed with the big man strategy. if the magic are willing to listen to trade offers than thats dumb. they should really be listening to DWIGHT. keep him happy.


    @bike – true true but don’t forget Kareem toked more than any other baller out there apart from The Chief (Robert Parish) of course . He still the one of the GOATS. Chill Out

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    What are you talking about? LA has Pau Gasol (Already an All Star before they acquired him) & Andrew Bynum (Drafted Straight out of HIgh School) – THey also have Kobe Bryant who isn’t a big man, who they also drafted straight out of high school…who turned out to be better then any big they have ever drafted. — And Shaq and Dwight were going to be great no matter who drafted them, which is why they were drafted 1st overall in their respective drafts. ANd the Spurs have had 2 elite bigmen in their history, both were drafted 1st overall in their respective drafts as well. — Players who are going to be great are going to be great, players who aren’t aren’t. Its very simple – The NBA is the end of the road for a basketball player / coach / trainer / scout, everyone in the profession. Name a great player that should have been great that didn’t turn out that way because of the team they played for? Name a player that wasn’t supposed to be great/good that ended up that way solely because of the team that drafted them? i’ll wait.

  • http://philosopher.view@blogspot.com The Philosopher

    Lew’s still mad at the agent who took his money, and was never heard from again.
    He’s pissed that he had to play like TEN years longer than he wanted to to recoup the money.
    When Alcindor was a child, he always had a complex because of his height. We may be witnessing the residuals of his complex.
    Kareem was always like this…
    The man did not even smile until 1987.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk


  • el_larsen

    whaouu!kareem sums up everything!
    pure vision,pure class

  • http://www.yomamajokes.com LilKDub503

    That entry age has little to do with how good the NBA is. It’s the attitudes of everyone involved with basketball at the youth elite level. Most of the best players in the NBA came in and made a storm (Dwight Howard, LeBron, Kobe, KG), so saying that the age rule is bad for the game is marginal at best.

    And come on the Kandi Man had no talent to start with, he pretty much started the “draft on potential, not prior success” model. But he’s rich, and his ex-girl is on TV now.

  • http://slamonline.com YKNOT

    I will not be criticized in front of my teamates in practice. I’d rather be dominated by others in front of millions!

  • http://slamonline.com Ugh

    There is no way Wilt would have talked smack about Olowokandi. Players back then were much more respectful. And more handsome.

  • Dr. DL

    I really don’t have much of an opinion about Kareem at this point, but I do have a question. I was just getting into my rabid NBA fan-dom as he was getting picked #1, so I never actually got to study the buzz. What exactly were the attributes that Olowokandi was supposed to possess? I saw him play horribly year after year, with the occaisional hopeful flourish to lure some team into an extension, but even when he was solid I never saw any sort of skill or athletic gifts that screamed #1 overall pick. What was the hype based on? It had to come from somewhere even if it did get way out of hand.

  • Sammy da Bull

    U losers bashin on Kareem…. the dude warrants RESPECT!

  • dee

    In some cases good teachers have to tweak their methods to reach certain students. Olowokandi is the example of that. Kareem was coached by John Wooden and Later in his career Pat Riley those two coaches alone was hard nosed and very traditional. Kareem is only following the traits of the coaches who coached him. He is without a doubt one of the greatest players ever to play but sometimes the gretest players doesn’t translate into great coaches. If that was the case, Magic would have stayed in coaching.

  • http://facebook.com/tronjohnson Chief

    I dunno where Kareem thinks this can go. We all know that the entry level is screwing over the L and NCAA. Everyone knew Olawakandi was a washout, I didn’t need Jabbar to tell me so.
    I would put more blame to the AAU circuit and the hype with no fundamentals it brings to our game.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    nbk: I have an answer for you…. 2nd pick. DARKO MILICIC. If he wasn’t drafted by Detroit to sit on the bench for 17 yrs and taken 4-8 spots lower….by any. other. team. he would be having a beautiful career in the NBA.

  • randolph edwards

    Jabbar was great as a player but his attitude always suck to me that is why he never made it as a coach or a commentator.