Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

  • When I think of the Master at “back to the basket” basketball I think of only one man, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

    In his illustrious career, he became so prolific at his game that his shot received it’s own name (the “skyhook” ) and became known around the world.

    There have been many great low post scorers in the game since its inception, but none like Kareem.

    Then I think about Kansas and their hi/lo offense. Really an offense built for a guy like Kareem, not the typical current big man of today. The game has changed so much in recent years. Kids growing up play a fluid game. Big men learn to dribble and shoot the ball even from the far out perimeter.

    In the old days, it was felt that big men were unable to learn many of the skills of the small men. So their entire focus was on a different game, scoring with their backs to the basket. Oh how the game has changed.

    And the NBA today. No team lives by “back to the basket” basketball. There are no Kareem’s in the league anymore.

    We need to face the facts that there will never be another Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

    In college basketball last year, Karl-Anthony Towns became the closest thing to a real back-to-the-basket threat. In reality, in most of his moves he had to commit a charge to get low enough in the post to score. His effectiveness was based on the defenders typically not knowing how to defend a back-to-the-basket scorer who kept backing up. The proper defense is to keep your arms up, ready to defend the shot, bend knees and lean forward with the front of your body pushed up to the back of the defender. Any sharp nudge backwards should send you down on a flop and a charge call.

    This past season, Kansas did a better job of bringing the low post guys up to around the FT line and worked through that spot more often than feeding the low post. It gave our big men more options with the ball, and though we didn’t have a great low post scorer, we were able to develop and find points closer to the goal.

    I’m curious how this next year will play out. It will matter who we recruit in the paint, but I don’t see any recruit out there able to go right in and score in the low post with his back to the basket. And since most of the guys left to recruit will probably only be at Kansas for a year, why work on developing it?

    My next question is can we even recruit a big if we have to tell him he will be playing “back to the basket” basketball? In recent days I posted a topic questioning if we have to promise recruits more now because of our level of desperation and the fact that we are entering the last hours of the recruiting process.

    What offense will we be running next season?

  • @drgnslayr

    Wouldn’t it be a cool throwback to see a college kid shooting some skyhooks?

  • @wissoxfan83

    Yes it would! Just goes to show us that the big kids today aren’t really too interested in developing back-to-the-basket moves because the skyhook is totally unstoppable.

    Once in a while you’ll see a player use a baby hook. Even those are almost impossible to stop. Surprised more players don’t use them because they are effective and an easy move to add to their toolbox.

    I think that says a lot about players not wanting to play in the low post with their backs to the basket.

    We are seeing players today in the post rely more on spin moves and scoring off the pivot. Those moves are very effective but only if the paint isn’t clogged up with other players. Interesting to see these moves that were developed more for open court moves used in the low post.

  • @drgnslayr I laugh at these kids who don’t want to play with their backs to the basket. Hebron James didn’t win a title and didn’t have a complete game until he went and work what “There Dream” and learned to back his man down. He’s still not a solid post player for a guy his size, but it has complimented his game greatly.

    Big guys don’t like tabooing much anymore, like at Big Frank at Wisconsin, (not bagging in him @wissoxfan83) but he wanted to play on the 3 pt arc. Sure it helped spread the floor, but he’s 7 foot tall!! Those guys that do bang around down low are called bullies and get offensive fouls called on them a lot.

    Heck even Kansas don’ts like to have it’s bigs play with their backs to the basket running the high/low trying to get that pass over the top the defender.

  • @drgnslayr

    Is it possible that back to the basket basketball might some how be a phenomenon triggered by THC consumption?

    No, I suppose there would be a lot more back to basket game being evidenced, if that were the case.


  • @JRyman Good point about Kansas not truly being back to the basked. The typical post feed and basket for Self is really to have the big seal his man up the floor away from the basket. The entry feed is thrown over the top to “the corner of the backboard” (we used to hear all the time). This lead to uncontested lay ups which are very high percentage baskets for players not named Landen Lucas.

    Lucas was the only player on our team this year who could consistently seal his man. However, he isn’t really strong enough to hold off the defender on the entry pass and then go up and score. We saw him losing ground usually to @drgnslayr 's no mans land under the basket, and then either get blocked by the rim on the way up or even step out of bounds after being moved so close to the baseline.

    Perry is pretty good at finding that angle but the entry has to be fast once he gets there because he cannot fend off the defender even as well as Lucas. He is also more adept at getting up a shot from under the basket but even these are more difficult than a simple slap the back board lay up or dunk which led to dropping at the rim %.

  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in his prime was the best ever. The Sky Hook was nearly unblockable. They don’t make them like that anymore!

  • @KansasComet gonna google his goggles.

  • @KansasComet

    Didn’t hurt that he was 7’ something…

  • Seriously, you all have to be as high as Kareem to be thinking he was a better back to the basket scorer than Chamberlain. Not even close really.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    As KU fans we all have a built-in bias in favor of Chamberlain but it is hard not to consider Jabbar as comparable or maybe even better.

    They played mostly in different ears and when Jabbars was starting to develop, Wilt was getting ready to retire. Wilt was almost alone physically during his playing career while Jabbar had a lot more competition, which makes any meaningful comparison between the two difficult. Athletes have improved over the years and will continue to do so but even when you consider modern training and techniques, Wilt was an athletic freak regardless of era.

    I know most all-time rankings tend to list Jabbar and Russel at the top and Wilt in third place among centers but you could rank them in a different order and still have a good case. The Russel comparison is the one I have the most problems with since the argument is always made that Russel’s teams won the majority of head to head games; however, Russell had a much ,much better supporting cast than Wilt, but Wilt invariably had better individual numbers than Russell. in their head to head games.

    Oh well, no right or wrong answer in this subject.

  • @JayHawkFanToo Wilt!!!

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    I don’t really have an opinion in comparing Wilt to Kareem. Two very different players, playing in different periods, against vastly different talent.

    Kareem played a long long time. And when you look at his numbers over those decades it is impossible to not have him in the conversation for the very best.

    He kind of reminds me of a bigger Perry Ellis. He was a technician and his moves were highly-polished. I didn’t see enough of Wilt’s games to judge his, but I can’t believe he had anywhere near the polish Kareem had on his shot. Wilt had freakish athleticism that matched up well with his size. Very large hands. I remember him often faking one-handed (palmed) passes and he would wind up his arm and really throw the pass but not let go. Everyone bit on his pass fakes. You just knew that ball was going to be thrown or come loose, but it didn’t.

    Kareem’s skyhook was pure art. Mechanical art.

    They don’t make 'em like Kareem or Wilt anymore! Those were “one-mold” players.

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