Kareem Abdul-Jabbar would like to return to his first NBA franchise — the Milwaukee Bucks — as the team’s head coach.
Abdul-Jabbar isn’t campaigning for the job that’s currently held by Jim Boylan, but the Hall of Famer was honest when OnMilwaukee.com’s Dave Begel asked about his interest when the Bucks hold their next search for a head coach.
I asked him flat out if he would be willing to be the head coach of the Bucks.
“Of course,” he replied.
Jabbar — then a 7-2 center known as Lew Alcindor – was the second-year Bucks’ No. 1 draft pick in 1969 and led the team to an NBA championship two years later. In 1975, Abdul-Jabbar pushed his way out of Milwaukee, forcing a trade to Los Angeles where he played 14 more seasons for the Lakers, winning five more championship rings and becoming the league’s all-time leading scorer.
But besides his reputation, what else would he bring to the Bucks?
“I know how to prepare for a season as an individual and I know what that means in terms of team commitment,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “I can get all the right people together that have some chemistry and care about each other and they love the game. That’s where teams are made or not made successful.
“That’s very hard for GM’s to figure out. They know talent when they see it. But that ability to connect with your teammates, that personal chemistry is a hard thing to see in people. I can help players learn how to develop that chemistry. We had Pete Newell out here (in Los Angeles) and he was a master at understanding the personal fire within each player. I’d be a coach who can provide respect and keep the guys on the same page for a whole season.”