In college, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Charles Barkley had a dispute over their respective role as the face of the NBA. Jabbar was never interested in being called “The Man” or taking on that responsibility while Barkley preferred to be seen as one of the boys. Looking back at these two men’s careers juxtaposed with each other is an interesting exercise into how much both have changed since retiring from basketball for good.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Charles Barkley both had a lot of success during their playing days. Kareem was known for his height, while Charles was known for his athleticism. They both have different opinions on their role-model status. Read more in detail here: kareem abdul jabbar height.
When it came to being seen as a role model, Charles Barkley made it quite clear. In his iconic “I am not a role model” Nike ad from 1993, he blasted such notions. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar made a role-model remark ten years before that was substantially different from Barkley’s. Abdul-arrived Jabbar’s soon after the publication of his memoirs Giant Steps.
In separate ways, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Charles Barkley shaped the NBA.
On June 25, 2018, in Santa Monica, California, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (L) and Charles Barkley talk onstage at the 2018 NBA Awards. Turner Sports/Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Despite taking distinct roads to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Abdul-Jabbar and Barkley both made it. Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s all-time greatest scorer, was all elegance, and his famed skyhook was the catalyst for his success. Barkley was eight inches shorter than Manning at 6-foot-6, but he played a power game with finesse.
The Milwaukee Bucks were Abdul-first Jabbar’s team in the NBA Draft in 1969, and he spent the first six years of his 20-year career with them. In his second and third seasons, he won scoring crowns, and he was nominated to the All-Star team all six years.
Prior to the 1975-76 season, he was dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers by the Bucks. He won five titles with LA, giving him a total of six during his career. After appearing in 19 All-Star games, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995.
The Philadelphia 76ers selected Barkley fifth overall in the 1984 NBA Draft. In his third season, he led the league in rebounding and made his first of 11 consecutive All-Star selections. During his 16-year career, Barkley was a member of three different teams.
He averaged 22.1 points and 11.7 rebounds throughout the course of his career. In 2006, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Charles Barkley famously said that he was not a role model for others.
Charles Barkley’s renowned “Role Model” ad from the 1990s is well-known.
Charles describes how and why the commercial came to be, as well as why it is still so important to him now. pic.twitter.com/Rf1xEI87nT
May 21, 2020 — The Lefkoe Show (@LefkoeShow)
During a Nike commercial in 1993, Barkley said that he was not a role model. It wasn’t a screenplay written for him by the Nike team. Barkley said the statement was his invention in his 2002 biography, I May Be Wrong, but I Doubt It.
In the commercial, Barkley discusses his position as a role model.
He said, “I am not a role model.” “I’m not compensated for being a role model.” On the basketball court, I’m paid to cause mayhem. Parents should serve as role models for their children. It doesn’t mean I should parent your kids just because I can dunk a basketball.”
Barkley said in his biography that he contacted Nike with the concept rather than the other way around.
“I went to Nike with the concept to produce a commercial about role models, not Nike came to me with it,” he wrote. “I simply believed we needed to do better as a society in that area.” So I inquired, and Nike said, “OK.”
Barkley received some backlash for his remarks, but he always speaks his mind and stands by his convictions.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, on the other hand, had a different perspective on his role model position.
Abdul-Jabbar was questioned about a minor bit of his memoirs Giant Steps a decade before Barkley revealed he wasn’t in the business of being a role model. He spoke about how he experimented with narcotics including marijuana, cocaine, LSD, and heroin as a kid in the book. Abdul-Jabbar was irritated by the media’s concentration on such little detail throughout its coverage.
According to United Press International, Abdul-Jabbar commented following the book’s publication in 1983, “It’s one little element of the book and it’s the only item they choose to deal with.” That didn’t seem right to me, but I assume they were trying to sell papers or something.”
One reader complained to the editor, claiming that the Lakers’ superstar should have kept that section out of the book. He predicted that a 7-year-old youngster on the playground will imitate Abdul-Jabbar as a result.
That’s when Abdul-Jabbar expressed his disagreement with Barkley on the subject of role models.
“Whether I like it or not, I’m going to be a role model,” Abdul-Jabbar stated. “I just hope that if a 7-year-old reads the book, he realizes there are risks out there — things that others will convince him are beneficial for him, just like they did to me.” My engagement with drugs was mostly motivated by peer pressure and curiosity. That was a tremendous thing in the late 1960s.”
Professional athletes will inspire individuals of all ages, whether they are children or adults. Barkley and Abdul-Jabbar just dealt with it in a different manner.
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