Cultural managements

‘Cultural differences’ – The real reason Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wanted to leave Milwaukee – Basketball Network

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

These days, players are asking to be traded to fulfill their championship dreams. This has created the so-called “ring culture” which not all players subscribe to. But back then, getting a ring was just one of the many reasons a player wanted to hang out. For Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, he asked to be traded out of Milwaukee because of “cultural differences”.

Kareem’s Favorite Teams

Prior to the 1975-76 NBA season, Abdul-Jabbar requested a trade to Milwaukee. He reiterated the reason for his request: he wants a change of environment, in particular a place where he feels at home.

I have no family or friends here,said Abdul-Jabbar, according to the Los Angeles Times. “The things I relate to are not found in this city to any significant degree. Culturally, who I am and what Milwaukee is are two different things. The reason I haven’t commented on this before is I don’t want to hit Milwaukee or the people here and make them think they’re unworthy of me. That’s not what it’s about.

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I don’t have mean feelings for the people of Milwaukee or Wisconsin. I want to point that out. But my family and my friends are not here and culturally what I am does not exist here. My time with management was great and the team staff are great. I have nothing to say about that.

Abdul-Jabbar had a list of favorite teams. His first option was the New York Knicks, followed by the Washington Bullets (now the Wizards), then the Los Angeles Lakers.

Pre-Kareem Lakers

One would assume that another factor behind Kareem’s trade request was the retirement of Oscar Robertson in 1974. Considered one of the greatest goalkeepers in history, Robertson and Abdul -Jabbar guided the Bucks to their very first NBA championship in 1971. Did Kareem pull out the “cultural differences” card to hide his desire for another title? Not likely.

After all, of his three favorite teams, only the Bullets were considered legitimate threats. Led by Wes Unseld, the Bullets reached the NBA Finals in the 1974-75 season, but were ultimately swept away by the Golden State Warriors led by Rick Barry.

Meanwhile, the Knicks had transitioned to a mid-level team in the 1974-75 season after winning titles in 1970 and 1973. As for the Lakers, they had been reeling after Wilt Chamberlain’s retirement in 1973. In the 1973-74 season, they were ejected in the conference finals by Kareem himself. The following year, they didn’t even make the playoffs.

And so it wasn’t for an NBA star actively pursuing a title. As Kareem repeated, this was a case of cultural differences. His early years in Los Angeles weren’t exactly ideal. Yes, he won MVP in his freshman year, but the team failed to make the playoffs. It wasn’t until the 1979-80 season – his fifth year in Los Angeles – that he would have his date with glory. Along with 20-year-old Magic Johnson, Kareem won another NBA championship.