Arguments can be made that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the greatest player that ever played the game. Being the NBA’s All-Time leading scorer helps that argument, but another point to be made is the longevity of Abdul-Jabbar’s dominance.
In 1971 Kareem (then known as Lew Alcindor) won the NBA Finals MVP with the Milwaukee Bucks. 14 years later, Abdul-Jabbar won his second Finals MVP. Kareem became the first person to win Finals MVPs in two different decades (Tim Duncan would join him), the oldest NBA Finals MVP at age 38, and nobody has ever won Finals MVPS that far apart.
Making this performance that much more satisfying was that it came at the expense of the Boston Celtics. In 1984 the Celtics defeated the Lakers in an epic seven game series, continuing the Celtics dominance over the Lakers who had never defeated them in an NBA Finals.
Kareem was determined to not let that happen again.
After losing Game 1 in what was later named ‘The Memorial Day Massacre’ the Lakers would take over the series winning four of the next five games including Game 6 in Boston to end the series. This would mark the first time the Lakers defeated the Celtics in the NBA Finals and the first time any team ended a series in the Boston Garden.
Kareem was dominant against the Celtics front line, posting averages of 25.7 points, nine rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.5 blocks, and 1 steal. In a must win Game 5 Kareem poured in 36 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, and three blocks in the Lakers 120-111 win. In the clinching Game 6 Kareem dropped 29 points, seven rebounds, and four assists.
We all marvel at Kobe’s amazing performance at the age of 35, and rightfully so. But on this Throwback Thursday lets pay homage to another Laker dominating despite his advanced age. Lakers Nation salutes The Cap, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
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