The Los Angeles Lakers have had a plethora of superstars play for the franchise the years, with each making a lasting mark on the world of professional basketball as well as the city of Los Angeles.
Each has their own place in the history books filled with days that won’t soon be forgotten, but this particular day belongs to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. It was April 22, 1989, when a 42-year-old Abdul-Jabbar suited up for the final regular season game of his incredible career.
Prior to the start of the 1988-89 season, Abdul-Jabbar announced that it would be his last. It was his 20th season in the NBA and 14th with the Lakers, and as always, Father Time was catching up to him.
His final season became a farewell tour, with opposing teams in cities all over the country paying tribute to one of the most dominant players to ever step on the hardwood. The Lakers did their part by presenting him with an oversized rocking chair.
Although Abdul-Jabbar was slowing down it was still remarkable that he was playing at a high level into his 40s. He rarely missed games due to injury, and it was this excellent health that provided him with the opportunity to set a scoring record that many feel may never be broken.
Over the course of his career, Abdul-Jabbar scored 38,387 points, more than anyone before him or since. While he had a variety of moves in his arsenal he became know for his sky hook, a shot that was essentially unstoppable.
With a final playoff run and then retirement waiting, Abdul-Jabbar suited up for the final game of the regular season against the Seattle Supersonics. The Lakers were now clearly Magic Johnson’s team but Abdul-Jabbar still played 26 minutes and scored 10 points while grabbing six rebounds.
From there, Abdul-Jabbar and the Lakers set off on one last playoff run that would take them all the way to the NBA Finals.
WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DISCUSSION? CHECK OUT THE NEW LAKERSNATION FORUM CLUB