Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is one of the game’s greatest talents. Since stepping into retirement, the former Los Angeles Lakers great has kept a close eye on the NBA. It’s led Abdul-Jabbar to grow dislike toward today’s playing style.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s illustrious NBA career
Abdul-Jabbar dominated the league throughout much of his 20-year career.
He earned countless accolades with six NBA titles, six regular-season MVP awards, a record 19 All-Star Game selections, 10 All-NBA First Team nods, five All-NBA Second nominations, five All-Defensive First Team nods, and six All-Defensive Second Team selections. Abdul-Jabbar remains the all-time leading scorer with 38,387 career points.
It’s placed him firmly in the discussion as arguably the greatest player in league history. Abdul-Jabbar also sits as a fixture around the league, which he isn’t a fan of today’s NBA game.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar doesn’t like today’s NBA game: ‘I don’t enjoy watching it’
Since stepping away from the game after the 1988-89 season, Abdul-Jabbar has remained a prominent figure around the NBA.
The six-time NBA champion has kept an eye on the many workings of the league, especially the style of play of the current generation of talent. During an interview from a few years ago, Abdul-Jabbar voiced that he isn’t a fan of how teams approach playing basketball today.
“Nowadays, they’ll take 20 shots in a half, three-point shots. So by putting a premium on a low percentage shot, it’s changed the nature of the game. It’s different,” Abdul-Jabbar said via Basketball Network. I don’t enjoy watching it as much, but I think the fans like it, so it’s gonna remain part of the game.”
Abdul-Jabbar’s preference is certainly rooted in the manner he played during his era along with much of the back-to-the-basket approach with the ball going inside-outside instead of the opposite. The league has fully embraced the 3-point shot after the rise of Stephen Curry’s tremendous success with the Golden State Warriors.
The rest of the NBA has adapted the approach as every team in the league in the 2020-21 season averaged north of 24 attempts per contest. All but three franchises averaging more than 30 attempts per game, while nine times averaged at least 35 shots from distance last campaign.
The 3-point shot has become an integral part of NBA offenses that has fueled the rise in scoring with every team averaging more than 103.0 points per contest. The league has pushed for more scoring as it fuels the entertainment factor for fans when watching a game.
NBA future sits in great hands with current talent
Despite Abdul-Jabbar‘s criticism regarding playing style, the NBA is in great hands.
The game has moved away from Abdul-Jabbar’s time, with big men excelling by extending their range beyond the 3-point line. The NBA is a guard-driven league, but frontcourt talents such as LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Kawhi Leonard, and Luka Doncic anchor consistent team success.
The list is endless, but it’s a solid blend of talent that varies in playing styles. In this year’s NBA Finals, Giannis Antetokounmpo bucked the trend behind his inside-outside approach combined with his tremendous physical ability. Those factors made him a mismatch nightmare for the Phoenix Suns.
Abdul-Jabbar may find some solace in Antetokoumpo’s playing style, but the NBA features a multitude of talent that places a bright future ahead. Teams are always adjusting to the formula that finds success, which right now lies with the 3-point shot.
Until things drastically change, it’s an aspect that remains a strong fixture to the present NBA game.