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Star wars, NBA-style II

Pau Gasol taking on Shaquille O'Neal in their first meeting as a Laker and a Sun, respectively

The Lakers stepped up and delivered in a major way in last week's victory over Phoenix. It was a statement of the first order. The Suns' acquisition of Shaquille O'Neal was an attempt to put some muscle and size in the mix for a small but speedy lineup. Shaq was able to deliver some muscle but that alone is not going to stop these Lakers.

The depth and cohesion of the Lakers squad is a pleasure to watch for Laker fans. Pau Gasol has made a seamless transition to the Laker offense and complements Kobe perfectly.  His ability on the perimeter to shoot, pass or attack the hoop creates problems for both his defender and those trying to help. Lamar Odom is like a Swiss Army knife at both ends of the court and is a threat to produce triple-double stats at any time.

Kobe was his usual self despite an injury to his shooting hand. The most ominous fact for their opponents is that the Lakers are not even at full strength. Trevor Ariza and Andrew Bynum are still sidelined with injuries at this point. When they return, we may get to see some truly scary hoops.

Like the rest of the Laker faithful, I can't wait for the next episode.

Photo of Pau Gasol taking on Shaquille O'Neal in Phoenix, by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

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Comments

Cap,

Thanks for the shoutout to the Laker Faithful in the blogosphere.

May I jsut say, I have an autographed copy of "Giant Steps" that is my prized possession. So GREAT to see you as part of the staff helping our young bigs.

Keep up the awesome work!

The Laker cuts, away from ball movement, etc. is the most beautiful in the league, even when they lose, which lately rarely happens

I don't get these people who think Shaq will have an impact with the Suns. He stilll looks like he's holding back the Suns a bit. But the Lakers look fluid.

Cap,

It's great that you have an L.A. Times blog. The combination of sports competition with intellectualism and cultural appreciation is what need right now in society.

Hey, I hope you get to do some work with Pau Gasol, even DJ Mbenga. I saw Pau make an impressive shot against Seattle and I thought of you.

The sky hook is a beautiful shot. A shame more players don't follow your example.

Keep it up, brother!

It's an honor cap. Will you be training the other Centers i.e. Gasol-Mbenga-Mihm and maybe Turiaf?

Regards,

Charles

Great article Mr. Abdul-Jabbar!
Sorry to use such formalities, but I feel like a kid again writing to you since you are a childhood hero of mine!
Keep up the great work with the blog and with Bynum. Can't wait to see the skyhook come back.

Take Care

Hello Kareem,

I really enjoy your blog and your enthusiasm for how the Lakers are playing. It is great to get your perspective on their play and also how you've played an intrical part in the development of Andrew. I think what's impressive is how you've taken care of yourself through the years. I always wondered how it felt to have trained and played under such great coaches and teams and with such talented players through your high school, college and pro career. Also to have met and trained with the legendary Bruce Lee. How has he influenced your life and training? Do you know if he ever watched any of your games or just watched basketball in general?

Thank you Kareem for your dedication and discipline in all that you do.

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Captain Kareem

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is considered by many fans and sportswriters to be the greatest basketball player of all time. The 7-foot-2 Hall of Fame center, famous for his indefensible skyhook, dominated the NBA for 20 years, first with the Milwaukee Bucks then with the Los Angeles Lakers. Before that he was the star of the UCLA Bruins teams that won three consecutive NCAA championships. Kareem was the NBA's MVP six times, a 19-time all-star and set the NBA all-time records in nine categories. He is the NBA's all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points, a record that may never be broken.

Since retiring as a player in 1989, Kareem has balanced his love of basketball with his love of history. In 2002 he led a USBL team, the Oklahoma Storm, to a championship. Since 2005, he has been the special assistant coach for the Lakers, working with Andrew Bynum.

In 2008 he was chosen The Greatest Player in College Basketball History.

Kareem also remains intellectually active, authoring six bestselling history books intended to popularize the contributions of African-Americans to American culture and history. His books include "Black Profiles in Courage: A Legacy of African-American Achievement"; "Brothers in Arms: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion, WWII's Forgotten Heroes"; "A Season on the Reservation," which chronicles his time teaching basketball and history on an Apache Indian reservation in White River, Ariz.; and the current New York Times and Los Angeles Times bestseller, "On the Shoulders of Giants: My Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance."

His audio adaptation, "On the Shoulders of Giants: My Audio & Musical Journey through the Harlem Renaissance," is a four-volume compilation read by Bob Costas, Avery Brooks, Jesse L. Martin, and Stanley Crouch, and features private and fascinating conversations with dozens of icons, including Coach John Wooden, Julius Erving, Charles Barkley, Samuel L. Jackson, Maya Angelou, Quincy Jones and Billy Crystal. He has also been written to L.A. Times, under the Sports section.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been appearing on various radio stations and TV shows, as well as the most relevant websites talking about his life and his new audio book, On the Shoulders of Giants.

All images are property of www.iconomy.com unless otherwise stated. All info copyrighted and owned by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is not replicated without permission.

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Mr. Abdul-Jabbar is the 2008 Honorary Chair Library Card Sign-up Month, which takes place in September. He will also appear at the American Library’s National Convention on June 28th and 29th at the Long Beach Convention Center to sign his poster.

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