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It just adds up: On points, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is Lakers' top center

LAKERS / 50th ANNIVERSARY

No offense to Chamberlain, Mikan or O'Neal, but when you're the top scorer in NBA history, attention must be paid. During the 'Showtime' era, the skyhook was nearly unstoppable.

November 12, 2009|Broderick Turner

The Lakers have had some of the best centers the NBA has ever seen.

It started in Minneapolis with George Mikan and continued on in Los Angeles with Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O'Neal.

Three of them are in the NBA Hall of Fame and the fourth, O'Neal, will be selected when his career is over.

As we mark the Lakers being in Los Angeles for 50 seasons, the team's best all-time center has to go to Abdul-Jabbar.

That's no offense to the others.

It's just that Abdul-Jabbar stood out more during his tenure in Los Angeles.

No one in NBA history has scored more points (38,387). He ranks third all-time in blocked shots (3,189), but the statistic wasn't recorded until the fourth year of his career.

Abdul-Jabbar won an NBA-best six MVP awards, three with the Lakers.

He won six NBA championships, five with the Lakers.

He was selected to 19 All-Star teams, an NBA record.

He was selected to the NBA's all-defensive team 11 times.

He was named one of the NBA's 50 greatest players.

He was the first player to play 20 seasons in the NBA.

He made the all-NBA team 15 times.

Abdul-Jabbar had a shot, the skyhook, that was nearly unstoppable. That helped him average 24.6 points while getting 11.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.6 blocks per game, making Abdul-Jabbar a dominant force in the NBA.

At 7 feet 2, Abdul-Jabbar was also agile and athletic.

Known as "The Captain" when he played for the Lakers, Abdul-Jabbar was a key part of the Lakers' "Showtime" teams during the 1980s. He anchored the offense and defense.

When the Lakers set in their half-court offense, Abdul-Jabbar was the biggest weapon in the league.

Chamberlain and O'Neal were physical marvels who took advantage of their power; both were exceptional when they played for the Lakers. Chamberlain won one of his two NBA championships with the Lakers. O'Neal won three of his four NBA championships with the Lakers.

It's just that Abdul-Jabbar did so much more.

When he was acquired by the Lakers in 1975, Abdul-Jabbar averaged 27.7 points, and he collected 1,111 defensive rebounds, a single-season NBA record.

That's what kind of force Abdul-Jabbar was for the Lakers.

--

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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