Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Net Worth

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a former professional player of the National Basketball Association (NBA) often named as being one of the greatest of all time.

ESPN named him as the second best player in NBA history after Michael Jordan in 2016.

Early this year, Kareem’s net worth was estimated to be $20 million.

At birth, Kareem’s name was Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr which he only publicly renounced in 1971 when he helped the Milwaukee Bucks win their first ever NBA championship.

Abdul had also converted to Islam by this time. The adopted name means “noble one, servant of the Almighty.”

In total, Abdul’s career spanned twenty seasons. He spent six of these with the bucks and the rest with the Los Angeles Lakers.

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Outside active play, Kareem has been involved in several other ventures including coaching, acting, and writing.

He has equally practiced martial arts having trained under Bruce Lee in Jeet Kune Do.


High School and College Basketball

Alcindor (for that was name at the time) stardom started right in his school days where he played for Parochial High school Power Memorial.

There he led his team as they won the New York Catholic Championship thrice. During the same time, Kareem’s team also won 71 games in a row.

This success caught the eye of the then assistant coach of University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Jerry Norman who then recruited him for college basketball.

While at UCLA, Kareem Adul-Jabbar played in three consecutive national championships and throughout this time his team won eighty-eight matches and lost only two!

One of the two games was a fixture against University of Houston. Kareem was unable to play the game owing to an injury.

Prior to playing on the varsity team, Kareem had played on the freshman team. Many will remember most a game he played as opponent to the varsity squad in 1965 in the exhibition game.

Going against a team that ranked top in pre-season polls, and two-times national defending champions, the freshmen would win 75-60 at the fourth quarter mark. Kareem scored 31 points and 21 rebounds.

This was the first time that a freshman team won such a match at UCLA. Some of the other freshmen composing the team were Lucius Allen and Lynn Shackelford.

In the subsequent season, Kareem played for the varsity team averaging 29 points per game (ppg) and inspiring them to a national championship.

For his first game, he scored 56 points and that way broke Gail Goodrich’s record of most number of points scored in a single game.

Kareem’s name remains one of the most revered in college basketball. In 2007, ESPN recognized him as the greatest college basketball player ever.

As man, Abdu-Jabbar equally still cherishes college basketball. In 2014, he published an article in the Jacobin demanding pay rise for college players.

His critique asserted that if equated to their real worth, the treatment of these athletes amounted to servitude.



Abdul-Jabbar did not join NBA as early as he could have since the rules at the time were that one would only start playing during the year that they would have hypothetically graduated from college.

When he eventually did though, he rose to stardom almost instantly.in his first season with the bucks, Kareem registered an average of 28 points per game and 14.5 rpg.

This performance would earn him the title rookie of the year.

By the time he left Milwaukee bucks, Kareem had been named as the league’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) thrice including in 1972 when he became the first player in NBA to win the MVP title two years consecutively.

That season he averaged 34.8 ppg and scored 2,822 points. In 1975, Kareem was traded off to Lakers with whom he won five more NBA championships.

Kareem’s career extended long into his adulthood but with remarkable achievements even in his yester years. In 1985 for instance, he was named the MVP for the finals series against the Celtics aged 38 years and 54 days becoming the oldest player to do so.

Overall, Abdul-Jabbar played in 95% of his teams’ games and helped them make it past the first-round playoffs fourteen times.

Kareem attributes his longevity and health (play without injury) to the discipline of martial arts.


Early life and Family

Kareem’s family originated among the Yoruba and was brought to America by a French farmer known as Alcindor who had migrated from Trinidad and Tobago.

His family took on their master’s name and so Kareem’s father was Alcindor too. His mother on the other hand, was Cora Lillian a departmental store price checker. Kareem was born in 1947.

Growing up, Abdul-Jabbar was always tall for his age. By 14 years, he could already dank! This attracted unfriendly remarks towards him and at times got him depressed.

In his full maturity, Kareem grew 7 ft 1 an attribute that immensely contributed to his career success.

As a player at Lakers, Abdul met-up with Habiba whom she married. The two bore three children, Habiba, Sultana, and Kareem Jr.

Their marriage ended in 1978 upon divorce. Adul-Jabbar has two more sons Adam and Amir, the latter being born by Cheryl Pistono.


Art and Literature

Not many years following his retirement, Abdul-Jabbar’s career took a complete twist.

Rather than venture into basketball more, he opted to write and act. This is certainly a venture he had started-on even as a basketball player though.

In 1972 for instance, he featured in Bruce Lee’s Game of Death in 1972.

In a considerable number of these movies, Abdu-Jabbar acted himself thus his old career followed him even in acting later on writing.

Kareem also acted himself in comedy series In Living Color. The films he has acted in include Berverly Hills, Forget Paris, as well as Airplane where he played the role of Co-captain Roger Murdock.

He has also participated in documentaries including his own On the Shoulders of Giants which aired in 2011.

His writing has mostly centered on his life as well as activism with several of them being New York Times best sellers.

His first book was an autobiography co-authored by Peter Knobler Giant Steps. His documentary On the Shoulders of Giants is also made out of one of his books.

Most of his other writings are cultural critics especially commentating on African-American History.


Outspoken Character

On a personal level, Kareem was said to be outspoken. Prior to joining the bucks for instance, he had notified the two teams interested in signing him (the Nets and the Bucks) that he would go with the one that bids highest adding that each of the two had one chance to make an offer.

Kareem lived up to his words going by Milwaukee’s $1.4 million even when the Nets offered him $3.5 million on second try.

Similarly, in 1968 Kareem refused to attend the Summer Olympics with the United States team in protest of unequal treatment of African-Americans.

Magic Johnson has also remarked about a child whom Kareem brushed-off when he asked for his autograph.

This attitude gained him bad reputation in the media and is said to have limited his possibilities at coaching.

In equal measure however, this character enabled him further social causes including when in 2015 he appeared on meet the press to defend Islam saying it was unfair to blame actions of extremists on the entire religion.

Kareem has also used his influence to help establish the NBA Social Justice Champion Award.



Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s success is attributed in part to his signature move known as skyhook. The shot involved him raising the ball as high as 16 feet before releasing it.

This meant that it was almost impossible for a defender to block the shot without committing a goaltending violation.

Owing to this, Kareem Abdul-Jabber remains the eight most accurate scorer in NBA with 55% field goal accuracy.

Skyhook was so good to the extent that the collegiate basketball committee banned it during his time fearing that with its aid he could score as and when he wished.

On his retirement, a fan gifted him a yacht with an inscription, “Captain Skyhook.”


Other Recognitions

  • In 2012, Kareem was selected to by U.S secretary of State Hillary Clinton to be the country’s global cultural ambassador.
  • In 2016, President Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • During his last days as president, Barrack Obama appointed him together with Gabrielle Douglas and Carli Lloyd to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition.