This Week in L.A. History: The Creator of the Skyhook Retired from Basketball


The Los Angeles Lakers honor Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s retirement on April 23, 1989

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, one of the most decorated basketball players of all time, retired at the age of 42. Known for his trademark skyhook shot, the former UCLA graduate played in the NBA for 20 seasons, and at the time of his retirement he was the league’s all-time leader in points scored, games played, minutes played, field goals made, field goal attempts, blocked shots, defensive rebounds, and personal fouls.

To this day, the Lakers center remains the NBA’s all-time leading scorer with 38,387 career points—2,000 more than the next listed player. He also received six regular season MVP awards (more than any other athlete in NBA history), won six championships, two finals MVP awards, was voted to the NBA all-star team 19 times, won rookie of the year, two scoring titles, one rebounding title, and four blocking titles.

Abdul-Jabbar continues to be recognized as one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Fox Sports ranks the center fourth on their Top 10 Players In NBA History list. This past November, a statue depicting the former Laker mid-skyhook was erected outside of Los Angeles’ Staples Center, cementing his legacy for years to come.

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