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Abdul-Jabbar Gets Knick Scouting Job

March 04, 2004|Elliott Teaford | Times Staff Writer

The New York Knicks hired Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as a scout Wednesday, assigning him to the Clipper-Indiana Pacer game at Staples Center.

It's not the coaching job that he so covets, but Abdul-Jabbar said he would be scouting NBA games primarily on the West Coast for the rest of the season.

"It's the perfect situation for me, because I can learn a lot of different aspects of management," he said before taking a court-side seat to watch the Clippers and Pacers.

Abdul-Jabbar, a former Laker great, had not coached for an NBA team since serving briefly as an assistant coach with the Clippers late in the 1999-2000 season.

He had said recently he believed that NBA teams were reluctant to hire him because he wasn't a nice guy while a player.

"There doesn't seem to be a place for me in basketball," he told The Times a day before the Feb. 15 All-Star game at Staples Center.

This will be the second time Abdul-Jabbar has worked with Isiah Thomas, president of the Knicks.

Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA's all-time scoring leader, attended several Knick practices after the All-Star break, prompting speculation that he would soon be hired to tutor the Knicks' centers and forwards.

"I worked with the big men with Isiah with Indiana," Abdul-Jabbar said of his work with the Pacers while Thomas was their coach. "We're waiting to see how I fit in with the [Knick] organization. I'll be scouting out here and doing some player evaluations and those types of things."

Thomas told reporters in New York that certain details of Abdul-Jabbar's job status still must be resolved.

"He's been doing some stuff in an unofficial-official capacity, but [Wednesday] it's official," Thomas said.

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