Despite Reserved Nature, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Brought “Ladies and Champagne” Only to Make Magic Johnson Happy in 1980

Published 11/27/2022, 3:10 PM EST
Laker assistant coach and Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul–Jabbar talks to reporters at the Staples Center Friday. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

In 1980, the Los Angeles Lakers won their first championship after winning back-to-back NBA championship titles in 1972 and 1973. However, the championship run was not easy for the Lakers because veteran Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Norm Nixon were injured and Magic Johnson was still a rookie. Following the win, Abdul-Jabbar who quotes himself as “reserved natured” brought ladies and champagne only to make Johnson happy.

The series tied with the Los Angeles Lakers and the Philadelphia 76ers winning two-two games each during the 1980 NBA finals. During game 5, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar got injured but still managed to earn a victory for the team and the Lakers got a 3-2 lead. But because of his ankle injury, he was ruled out of the 6th game, and that’s when rookie Magic Johnson took things into his hands. Without Nixon and Abdul Jabbar, Johson dropped 42 points, 15 rebounds, and 7 assists to lead the team to victory.

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After winning the finals without Kareem in 1980, the docuseries shows Kareem entering the Lakers’ plane in a cowboy hat in a jovial mood. “Didn’t even wait for your boy! I got all the things waiting for you man, all the ladies, all the champagne” said Kareem. All of this was just to make Johnson happy. Such conduct was rare from someone like Abdul-Jabbar.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar overcame his shy nature

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is one of the most celebrated basketball personalities. The all-time NBA highest scorer was a natural leader on the court. Today, he is a successful writer, film producer, and historian. However, during the early years of his career, he was often criticized for his lack of interaction with people and the media.

SANTA MONICA, CA. – JUNE 25: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar arrives. To the NBA Awards Show 2018 held at Barker Hangar on June 25, 2018. in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)

In 2012, during an interview, Abdul-Jabbar quoted himself as “reserved” when it comes to him talking to people. Because of this, he was often portrayed wrongly in the media. Soon he realized the importance of public relations. He then overcame his shyness and started interacting with fans and media a bit. Furthermore, he believes that it has gotten better since he retired.

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WATCH THIS STORY: From Training to Match Day- An Inside Look into Life as a USMNT Player

What is your favorite Abdul- Jabbar story? Let us know in the comments below.

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Ritesh Jha

240 articles

Ritesh Jha is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his Bachelor's in Technology in Computer Science from Rungta College. Ritesh worked as an intern content writer for a digital marketing agency called KCAS Branding before joining EssentiallySports.

Edited By: Jayant Chhabra

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