Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on Finals: ‘Great Teamwork Over Great Individual Play’

by Adam Figman

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s name was all over the headlines last month, when the Lakers legend caused a stir after stating that he deserves a statue outside of Los Angeles’ Staples Center.

While any talk of his his former team was avoided in TrueHoop’s Q+A with the Hall-of Famer, a variety of topics were not, including the NBA Finals, LeBron James and Abdul-Jabbar’s book, Brothers in Arms: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion, WWII’s Forgotten Heroes.

Here are some snippets of the convo, though we recommend that you check out the whole thing over at ESPN.

What was your reaction to the Finals?
I think it was a triumph of great teamwork over great individual play. The Miami team really is not. They weren’t ready to play the team game the way the Mavericks were, and that’s why the Mavericks came out on top.

What about how people react to LeBron James?
I think people just did not like his style, in self-promoting and aggrandizement of himself that ESPN was part of, and the event on ESPN turned a lot of people off. All these things to say about him as an individual. It’s a team game. People seem to lose sight of that pretty quickly.

How does he proceed from here?
That burden, really, is going to fall on the franchise, to get the right players that comprise a good team. He’s always going to be, for his whole career, a dominant and outstanding player. The way that they put the team together and promoted the team really did not do the team any good, and it didn’t do the game any good. It’s a team game and they should promote it as such.

And Abdul-Jabbar’s comment on a fix for the Lakers?

“I don’t have one. I’m sure they have an idea of what they want to do, and I’ll stay out of that.”