Kareem Abdul-Jabbar knows a thing or two about winning as he led the Los Angeles Lakers to 5 NBA Championships in the 1980s. And when the Lakers entered the 2020-21 season, the thought was they were going to repeat as champions. However, the Lakers ended up having a disappointing season, reaching the playoffs as a No. 7 seed and losing to the Phoenix Suns in the first round. PopCulture.com recently caught up Adbul-Jabbar, who revealed how the Lakers can get back on top.
"Well, you can't be at your best if you can't put your best team on the court and the injuries that The Lakers suffered this year were just... How many games did [Anthony] Davis miss, 40-something games?" Abdul-Jabbar said to PopCulture. "And LeBron [James] was out twice with an ankle and they just couldn't build the cohesion and continuity that they needed to go into the playoffs strong. Guys were trying to come back, Davis tried to play with a bad hamstring, it just didn't work, so they're going to have to heal and try and come back next year strong. And the fans here kind of appreciate what happened, they know that the team gave their best, but they can't dodge those injuries, they will determine what they will determine."
The Lakers were in a situation where they won the NBA title in October last year and started the new season in December. That was done as the 2019-20 season was delayed in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the NBA wanted to get back on track. It led to this season starting in December and each team playing 72 games instead of 82. After a strong start to the season, the Lakers began to slip in the standings due to the health issues with James and Davis.
But with the Lakers out of the playoffs, it gives NBA fans an opportunity to follow new teams and exciting players. Abdul-Jabbar revealed some of his favorite NBA players he enjoys watching, including one who is leading the Phoenix Suns on a monster playoff run.
"The young man, Devin Booker. Jeez," Abdul-Jabbar said. He also mentioned a few more players who are doing big things in the playoffs. "[Joel] Embiid has had an incredible year. Paul George, he's consistent. There are a lot of guys. Damian Lillard, very consistent. There's so many guys out there that you can point to." Abdul-Jabbar also mentioned Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics being an "incredible talent."