Kareem Abdul-Jabbar , also called (until 1971) Lew Alcindor, byname of Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor, Jr. (born April 16, 1947, New York, New York, U.S.), American collegiate and professional basketball player who, as a 7-foot 2-inch- (2.18-metre-) tall centre, dominated the game throughout the 1970s and early ’80s.
Alcindor played for Power Memorial Academy on the varsity for four years, and his total of 2,067 points set a New York City high school record. His offensive skill was so developed coming out of high school that the collegiate basketball rules committee, fearing he would be able to score at will, made dunking illegal prior to his enrollment at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), in 1965. Despite the new rule, he set a UCLA scoring record with 56 points in his first game. Playing for renowned coach John Wooden, Alcindor helped lead UCLA to three National Collegiate Athletic Association championships (1967–69), and during his stay at UCLA the team lost only two games. The no-dunking rule was rescinded in the years after Alcindor graduated.
Alcindor joined the National Basketball Association (NBA) Milwaukee Bucks for the 1969–70 season and was named Rookie of the Year. In 1970–71 the Bucks won the NBA championship, and Alcindor led the league in scoring (2,596 points) and points-per-game average (31.7), as he did in 1971–72 (2,822 points; 34.8). Having converted to Islam while at UCLA, Alcindor took the Arabic name Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1971. In 1975 he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, who won the NBA championship in 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, and 1988. In 1984 he surpassed Wilt Chamberlain’s career scoring total of 31,419 points.
Although Abdul-Jabbar lacked the physical strength of NBA centres Wilt Chamberlain and Willis Reed, he brought an excellent shooting touch to the position and a wide range of graceful post moves, including his sweeping, nearly indefensible sky hook. He also was an outstanding passer. Abdul-Jabbar retired at the end of the 1988–89 season, having been voted