Abdul-Jabbar: 1-and-done makes college hoops a 'travesty'
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar By BRIAN MAHONEY
NEW YORK - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar likes experienced players, part of the reason he picked San Antonio to knock off Golden State.
And it's one reason he thinks John Wooden wouldn't have the same enjoyment or success if he were coaching today. His coach at UCLA would have disliked how the oneand-done era has changed the college basketball game that the Bruins ruled under Wooden.
“He wouldn't have been able to do it now,” Abdul-Jabbar said Monday in an interview at headquarters. “It's a totally different circumstance now. Kids aren't going to college to get an education and play ball. It's one or the other.”
The NBA's draft lottery is Tuesday and the team that gets the No. 1 pick will likely use it on a freshman, such as point guards Markelle Fultz or Lonzo Ball. They might become All-Stars but they won't arrive in the NBA with anywhere near the resume of Abdul-Jabbar, who won three championships in three seasons from 1967-69 - freshman were ineligible at the time - and was the Final Four Most Outstanding Player each time.
“They're there less than six months. It's not even six months and they're gone,” AbdulJabbar said. “It's a travesty, I think. They're just using the college system as a stepping stone to the NBA and that's really unfortunate. I think an education is vital to having a good life and these guys aren't getting that opportunity. It's sad.”
Dressed in a dark blazer, blue tie and khaki slacks, the goateed Abdul-Jabbar spoke in a studio about his relationship with Wooden in his new book "Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off the Court.'' The book details Wooden's influence on his life as a player in college and years later as they became closer when Abdul-Jabbar returned to Los Angeles to play for the Lakers.
Wooden won 10 national championships, most by a men's coach, but Abdul-Jabbar hopes readers will see that many of Wooden's best lessons weren't about sports.
“I hope that they get an understanding of the man, what he was all about and what he gave us in terms of an understanding of how to be good citizens, good husbands, good fathers,” Abdul-Jabbar said.“That was really what he was all about. He used basketball just as a metaphor to teach us about life and he did a great job.”
Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA's career scoring leader, is now 70 and does some work for ESPN. He picked the Spurs to beat the topseeded Warriors in the Western Conference finals.
“I went with the Spurs because they have a more veteran team and the way that they play the game will work because they can play an inside game and an outside game,'' he said. “Golden State is more of an outside shooting team and they're very good at it. So that's why they play the games.We get to go see them and find out if our speculation was accurate or way off base.”
It appeared it was going to be right on, at least for Game 1, when the Spurs built a 25point lead. But they lost Kawhi Leonard to an ankle injury in the third quarter and Golden State rallied for a 113-111 victory.
“I think San Antonio can challenge them but they're going to need Leonard if they're going to take it all the way,” Abdul-Jabbar said. Cavaliers to wear Goodyear logo. By TOM WITHERS
CLEVELAND - The Cavaliers are teaming up with another Akron icon.
Linked by geography and superstar LeBron James, the defending NBA champions on Monday announced a three-year sponsorship deal with Goodyear. The Cavaliers will wear the tire giant's winged-foot logo on the fronts of their jerseys starting next season.
“This is a natural fit between two organizations rooted in Northeast Ohio whose strong brands have a global following,” said Rich Kramer, Goodyear's CEO and president. “Goodyear has always been connected to the Cavs from our blimp coverage to the tremendous passion of our associates for the team, and we're excited to make this relationship even stronger.”
The team believes the Akron-based manufacturer is a perfect partner, partially because of the shared ties with James, the three-time champ who grew up there and remains committed to his hometown.
Financial terms were not disclosed, but the deal, which includes advertising, jersey and merchandise sales, could be worth $10 million annually for the team.
The logo will be unveiled this summer when Nike, which will become the league's official uniform supplier beginning next season, rolls out Cleveland's new jerseys.
The Cavs are the latest NBA franchise to land a corporate sponsor. Last year, the league approved teams signing companies to place logos on the upper left portion of their jerseys. Philadelphia, Boston, Sacra mento, Utah and Brooklyn all have similar corporate partnerships.
While relatively new in North American sports, corporate logos have been on team uniforms in Europe for years.
Cleveland guard Iman Shumpert said he was initially against the idea but now accepts that it's part of a changing NBA.
“Growing up you're so used to seeing just the classic jersey,” he said. “At first I wasn't taking to it or positive about it. I didn't like it. But seeing how they're doing it,