2. Kareem Abdul-Jabar
A towering personality on and off the basketball court, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar established an enduring legacy that went far beyond his successful NBA career. Abdul-Jabbar, known for his unstoppable skyhook shot, was the former all-time best scorer (LeBron James passed him by accumulating 38,390 points), and his on-court prowess garnered him countless honors, including six championships. His off-court work, though, was what really cemented his legend.
Even when social justice advocacy was not widely accepted, Kareem was not reluctant to utilize his position to promote these issues. His outspokenness on matters of civil rights, racial equality, and education showed his dedication to establishing a more equitable society.
Additionally, Kareem’s professionalism and commitment to his career established a high bar for sportsmen in the following generation. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s work ethic and pursuit of perfection still inspire athletes today, having led the Lakers to five championships and defining his legacy.
Here are a few accolades from Kareem as a Laker:
- 5 NBA Championships
- 2-time NBA Finals MVP (1985 as a Laker)
- 6-time NBA MVP (3 of them as a Laker)
- 19-time ALL-Star
- 2-time NCAA Champion
- 1969-1970 Rookie of the Year
- 2nd in the all-time scoring list (38,387)
- One of the top 50 & 75 greatest players ever
Finally, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s influence goes beyond his stellar basketball career. He set an example for players to not only thrive in their sport but also fight for justice and equality via his advocacy efforts off the field of play. He has left a lasting legacy of both physical prowess and social impact, inspiring athletes and others to use their power for the benefit of society.