THE Sports & Swag Report

#TBT: 40 Years after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar leaves Bucks and signs with Lakers…


In 1975, one of the most important moves in NBA history was made. The trade between the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers. That trade is today, still thought to be the catalyst for the moves via trade and free agency that we see from NBA players right now. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the sensational big man with the patented and unstoppable ‘Skyhook’. The man that helped the UCLA Bruins pull off one of the most dominant and successful decades (10 national titles in 11 years, including Jabbar’s tenure of 1967 – 1969) in sports history. The man that led the Milwaukee Bucks to an NBA championship in 1971, suddenly decided that he’d had enough of Milwaukee and the cold Midwest. Instead, he was ready for a return to the bright lights of sunny L.A. Just as he’d changed his name from Lew Alcindor, to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to reflect his allegiance to the Nation of Islam, he felt a change of scenery was necessary also.

Turns out it was the right move.

Jabbar, signed with the Lakers and proceeded to win five more NBA titles from 1980 – 1988. Jabbar, is widely thought of as the best center to ever play the game.

Fast forward 40 years to today, things have changed quite a bit. Greg Monroe, a former center for the Detroit Pistons, turned down the bright lights of New York and the sunshine of L.A. to sign a 3-yr $50 million deal with those same Milwaukee Bucks that Kareem left 40 years ago. Monroe, is no Kareem. However, he’s no slouch either. That was a huge get for a young but talented Bucks squad. How ironic is it for Monroe to sign with them almost 40 years to the day? It doesn’t make up for losing Kareem way back then, but it doesn’t hurt.

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