Kareem Abdul Jabbar

In 1975, the Lakers acquired Abdul-Jabbar and reserve center Walt Wesley from the Bucks for center Elmore Smith, guard Brian Winters, and rookie "blue chippers"Dave Myers andJunior Bridgeman. In his first season with Los Angeles, Abdul-Jabbar had a dominating season, averaging 27.7 points per game and leading the league in rebounding, blocked shots, and minutes played. His 1,111 defensive rebounds remains the NBA single-season record (defensive rebounds were not recorded prior to the 1973-74 season). He earned his fourth MVP award, but missed the post-season for the second straight season. In the 1976-77 season, Abdul-Jabbar had another strong season. He led the league in field goal percentage, finished second in rebounds and blocked shots, and third in points per game. He helped lead the Lakers to the best record in the NBA, and he won his record tying fifth MVP award. In the playoffs, the Lakers beat the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference semi-finals, setting up a confrontation with the Portland Trailblazers. The result was a memorable matchup, pitting Abdul-Jabbar against a young, injury free Bill Walton. Although Abdul-Jabbar dominated the series statistically, Walton and the Trailblazers (who were experiencing their first-ever run in the playoffs) swept the Lakers, behind Walton's skillful passing and leadership. Abdul-Jabbar play remained strong during the next two seasons, being named to the All-NBA Second Team twice, the All-Defense First Team once, and the All-Defense Second Team once. The Lakers, however, continued to be stymied in the playoffs, being eliminated by the Seattle Supersonics in both 1978 and 1979.In 1979, the Lakers acquired 1st overall draft pick Earvin "Magic Johnson". The trade and draft paved the way for a dynasty as the Lakers went on to become the most dominant team of the 1980s with Kareem and Magic leading the way, appearing in the finals eight times and winning five NBA championships. Individually, while Jabbar was not the dominant center he was in the 1970s, he experienced a number of highlight moments. Among them were his record sixth MVP award in 1980, four more All-NBA First Team designations, two more All-Defense First Team designations, the 1985 Finals MVP, and on April 24, 1984 he broke Wilt Chamberlain's record for career points. On June 28, 1989, after twenty professional seasons, Abdul-Jabbar announced his retirement. On his "retirement tour" he received standing ovations at all the games, home and away. In his biography My Life, Magic Johnson recalls that in Abdul-Jabbar's farewell game, many Lakers and Celtics legends participated. Every player wore Abdul-Jabbar's trademark goggles and had to try a sky hook at least once, which led to comic results. The Lakers made the NBA Finals in each of Abdul-Jabbar's final three seasons, defeating Boston in 1987, and Detroit in 1988. The Lakers lost, however, to the Pistons in a four game sweep in his final season. In his final season every NBA team gave him a present from a yacht that said "Captain Skyhook" to more traditional items as all of his framed jerseys of his basketball career to an Afghan rug.