The Los Angeles Lakers have had many transcending athletes don their jersey throughout their illustrious history. These Hall-of-Famers, including the likes of Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, contributed heavily both on and off the court, setting the stage for 10 championships over the last 38 years.
Legends such as Abdul-Jabbar have accomplished a lot over their respective careers, including holding records many may not know about. On this day in Lakers history, Los Angeles hosted the Denver Nuggets at The Forum, in what would turn into an NBA oddity.
Up to this point, Pat Riley’s team had assembled a 47-14 record heading into the March 10, 1987 matchup. On the other hand, Denver had put together a subpar 25-37 record, even with the plethora of talented guards on their roster.
Johnson, Abdul-Jabbar, Byron Scott, James Worthy, and A.C. Green started the game for the Lakers. The Nuggets sent out Alex English, Fat Lever, Danny Schayes, Darrell Walker, and Wayne Cooper.
Although the game resulted in an blowout in favor of the Lakers, a moment in NBA history occurred in the first quarter. With just over four minutes remaining, Abdul-Jabbar was called for a charging foul when driving into Schayes.
While many think of it as just a regular offensive foul, it marked Abdul-Jabbar’s 4,194 career foul, a new NBA record. The former No. 1 overall pick surpassed Elvin Hayes and his mark of 4,193 to become the NBA’s all-time leader in personal fouls.
Abdul-Jabbar’s mastery of the paint was what many recognized throughout his lengthy 20-year career, appearing in a total of 1,560 games. However, he certainly picked up a lot of fouls on the path to becoming the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.
In regards to the contest, the Lakers would exert their dominance and expand their lead to 83-57 going into halftime. The Lakers were able to exercise their comfortable lead throughout the second half, with the route providing an opportunity for Riley to rest his stars.
Abdul-Jabbar finished the game with 22 points and seven rebounds, only playing 27 minutes of action. His co-star in Johnson, played just one more minute, collecting 11 points, 20 assists, five rebounds and three steals.
Los Angeles continued to pour it on during the contest, outscoring the Nuggets in each quarter en route to a 143-107. While becoming the all-time leader in fouls isn’t a notable achievement Abdul-Jabbar may be proud of, it points to longevity that he had, which helped defined his outstanding career.
There have been many notable players that have since also passed Hayes on the all-time fouls list, including other Hall-of-Famers. Abdul-Jabbar, who finished his career with 4,647 fouls, is followed by Karl Malone (4,578 fouls), Robert Parish (4,443), Charles Oakley (4,421), Hakeem Olajuwon (4,383) and Buck Williams (4,267).