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CBS Adds Abdul-Jabbar

February 12, 2003|Larry Stewart | Times Staff Writer

CBS announced Tuesday that it had hired Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as a college basketball commentator, although Abdul-Jabbar made it clear during a conference call with reporters that he is still interesting in coaching.

Of the possibility of coaching at UCLA, his alma mater, he said, "I haven't spoken to anybody at UCLA, but if things change at the end of the season and there is a position open, I hope they would consider me."

He called it "a dream job."

When it was pointed out that the UCLA job can also be a nightmare because of expectations, Abdul-Jabbar said, "Nightmares also come in your dreams."

Abdul-Jabbar led UCLA to an 88-2 record and three national championships (1967-69), served as an assistant coach for the Clippers during the second half of the 1999-2000 season and last year coached the Oklahoma Storm to the U.S. Basketball League championship. He resigned after the season, saying he wanted to seek another coaching position.

At CBS, he'll be teamed with Dick Enberg and Matt Guokas during the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament. Those three will announce a regular-season game between Duke and North Carolina State on Feb. 22.

Abdul-Jabbar had a brief stint with ESPN as a college basketball commentator several years ago.

As for coaching, Abdul-Jabbar said when he retired from the NBA in 1989 that he was burned out on basketball and wasn't interested. Over time, his outlook changed, but then no teams were interested in him.

"The impression was, I was hard to communicate with, but I am working very hard to change that image," he said.

Abdul-Jabbar said watching the Bruins struggle to a 5-14 record this season has been difficult.

"It would be one thing for them to go out and compete, but the way they're playing lately, they aren't even competitive," he said.

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