Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Dream Was Actually to Play for the Knicks

On the 10th anniversary of LeBron James’ infamous decision to “take his talents to South Beach,” New York Knicks fans were tormented with the reminder that he really wanted to come to New York. Well, he obviously didn’t end up in NYC, and the rest is history. The same can be said for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar speaks to students and educators
Kareem Abdul Jabbar speaks to students and educators. Photo By Vito Amati/Shutterstock

Knicks fans were again taunted by the fact that Abdul-Jabbar originally wanted to play for the Knicks. In fact, he said it was his “dream.” In 1975, when Abdul-Jabbar changed everything in the league by moving from Milwaukee to Los Angeles, his dream was to play for the Knicks.

Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr.

“I wanted to go to New York and play in New York,” Abdul-Jabbar said at a press conference. “It’s been a dream of mine since I first started playing basketball: to play for the Knickerbockers.” The basketball legend was born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr. and grew up in the Dyckman Street projects.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar
Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Photo By Globe Photos/mediapunch/Shutterstock

He went to high school at the NYC basketball powerhouse Power Memorial Academy (PMA), where he won 71 games in a row at one point. Following the 1974-75 season, he was asked to be traded to either the Knicks or Lakers in Milwaukee.

Making the Proper Moves

According to Abdul-Jabbar, the Knicks never made the proper moves to secure him. “I had a strong desire to return home [with the Knicks],” he said Abdul-Jabbar.

Airplane, Kareem Abdul-jabbar, Rossie Harris, Peter Graves
Airplane, Kareem Abdul-jabbar, Rossie Harris, Peter Graves

“But the Lakers made a sincere effort to get me, and that wasn’t the case with New York. I don’t think it’s smart to go around people who don’t really want you.” According to the Knicks, they did their due diligence to acquire the star player.

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