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Can't Abdul-Jabbar Get Hold of Himself?

May 25, 1985

Even less surprising than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's ludicrous takedown of that obscure Denver center was his sullen reaction afterward. He wasn't talking, he declared, because nobody has ever listened to his side. Of course we have, because he's been singing this song, in one key or another, ever since he surfaced as a teen-age athletic prodigy 20 years ago.

The man is the greatest offensive force ever to play the game. The skyhook is the single most devastating shot in the game's history. He's a great passer, a heady team player, and he's always given his fullest effort. If only he had a sense of proportion (Kareem knows the NBA condones an ugly style of play, especially close to the basket), a touch of humor, a little less vanity, and a lot longer fuse.

CHARLES CHICCOA

Los Angeles

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