Pat Riley has maintained his stance that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is undisputedly the greatest basketball player.
With GOAT talks surrounding only at around Michael Jordan and LeBron James, the current Miami Heat president meanwhile aired his stance on why Abdul-Jabbar, his former superstar player in the Los Angeles Lakers in the 80s, sits at the top of his list.
“I always said that Kareem was the greatest player of all time because of his longevity,” Riley told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. “Kareem was unique from the standpoint that he could play at a high level, play 80 games a year … get beat up because of double- and triple-teams and guys just taking shots at him. He just developed this mental toughness along with a great physical body to really last forever.
“… We don’t win championships without the greatest player in the history of the game, who had the greatest weapon in the history of the game,” Riley added. “The skyhook was unstoppable. Last minute of the game, it’s going to one guy. Kareem was the guy, and he’ll always be the guy.”
Playing for 20 seasons in the NBA, Abdul-Jabbar amassed an all-time hardware in his personal and collective success. He was named an MVP six times, won six league championships, named to 19 All-Star appearances and grabbed multiple All-NBA and Defensive Team selections.
The awards and accomplishments he compiled in the span of 20 years made him one of the greatest players ever, and he was able to become the NBA’s all-time leader in points (38,387).
As such this season, James is on the cusp of breaking this ultimate scoring record that he held for nearly 40 years, only around 200 points away to complete the achievement.