NBA

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Favorite Teammate Surprisingly Wasn’t Magic Johnson

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar put forth an impeccable NBA career that saw him earn the recognition as an all-time great. Much of that saw him do in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform next to some of the greatest players. During that span, he built lifelong relationships off the court beyond his NBA career. That has seen him create a tighter bond with one teammate more than Magic Johnson.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s incredible career

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There is more than a strong argument that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the greatest player in NBA history.

He racked up numerous 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 also finished as the all-time leading scorer with 38,387 career points, which is a record that still stands firmly today.

Much of his offensive success was predicated mainly off using the skyhook shot, which is arguably the most challenging shot to defend. Abdul-Jabbar continued to be a highly productive player throughout his entire career behind this type of shot. Beyond his play on the court, he developed a strong bond with another Lakers teammate that wasn’t Magic Johnson.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar picked James Worthy as his favorite teammate

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar put forth an incredibly successful career that spanned over two decades in the league. The bulk of that came with the Lakers, where he helped guide the franchise to the mountaintop several times.

During that span, he developed some of his career’s strongest relationships on and off the court. When asked by Maria Karvouni of Sportskeeda, his favorite teammate in his NBA career, the choice wasn’t Magic Johnson but rather James Worthy.

James Worthy and I got along very well both on and off the court. Like me, he was a big fan of jazz and we would talk about jazz musicians as much as we did about NBA players. He also shared my interest in black culture and history. I’d give him books about black history during the Civil War and other time periods and we’d talk about them, too.

On the court, James had an uncanny ability to anticipate when we were about to snag a rebound and bolt down the court. He was the fastest guy in the league and it was fun to watch players get frustrated trying to catch up to him.

Johnson and Abdul-Jabbar had an unbreakable connection on the court that helped guide the Lakers to being the powerhouse in the 1980s. However, it was the bond that the Hall of Famer had with Worthy off the court that with mutual interest that fueled that strong bond.

It’s not a shot at Johnson, but rather he could relate better to another Lakers teammates. Worthy has struck a different chord with Abdul-Jabbar that goes well beyond basketball with the same interest in music and black culture and history. Simply put, it’s a one-of-a-kind friendship.

Tremendous respect for Magic Johnson

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has always shared incredible respect and admiration for Magic Johnson.

The two achieved tremendous success together in Los Angeles that helped lift them to basketball immortality. They are recognized as two of the greatest NBA history players with strong arguments for that ultimate mantel. Their careers will forever be tied together with what they accomplished in Lakers uniforms.

Abdul-Jabbar first helped mold and shape Johnson into the player and leader he became in Los Angeles. There will always be respect for that beyond them proving to be Hall of Famers. Nonetheless, Abdul-Jabbar and Worthy’s strong bond has shows how tightly knitted those Lakers teams were that were an integral part of their success.