Ab­dul-Jab­bar: 1-and-done makes col­lege hoops a 'trav­esty'

South Florida Times - - SPORTS - AP Bas­ket­ball Writer The As­so­ci­ated Press AP Sports Writer

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,

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