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Abdul-Jabbar smacks Andrew Bynum on way out the door

Aug 15, 2012, 11:27 AM EDT

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Andrew Bynum Getty Images

Today is Andrew Bynum day in Philadelphia, where he gets introduced to the fans and media, when he brings the hope of change to Philly. When they talk about having the second best center to counter a conference where the best teams — Boston, Miami — are going small.

But first, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has to smack him one time on the way out the door.

Abdul-Jabbar was brought in years as a Lakers consultant to coach a young Bynum, who had size and athleticism was but was raw like sushi and didn’t know how to be a professional yet. Abdul-Jabbar worked with him for four years off-and-on, but that ended when Bynum said he had learned what he could from the six-time NBA MVP, six-time NBA champion and NBA’s all-time leading scorer. Kareem lost his gig with the Lakers and has never warmed up to Bynum in part because of it.

Abdul-Jabbar spoke to the Los Angeles Times about the new look Lakers with Dwight Howard and Steve Nash and said this.

“Dwight is very committed to playing and winning,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “Andrew has been up and down on that issue. There are times he wants to play, do a great job and he goes out and does it. Then there are other times where it seems like he’s not focused….

“When I first started working with him, he was eager to learn,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “He appreciated me shortening the learning curve. Once he figured he did everything he wanted to do in terms of learning, he didn’t want me to bother him constantly going over the fundamentals.”

Abdul-Jabbar is right — Bynum’s focus went in and out at Lakers games. Part of the reason Pau Gasol got pushed to the side of the offense was to get Bynum early touches in the post so he would become engaged. Because otherwise if he wasn’t challenged he became disengaged.

Philadelphia will be the big test of Bynum’s maturity — they are making him the centerpiece of a franchise. It is what Bynum has wanted. Philadelphia has gone so far as to invite fans to come to Bynum’s press conference, to use him as a magnet to draw fans who have drifted away from the team back.

He is capable of living up to it, to being a dominant force. But it’s on him now. The nights off, the flippant attitude about it — that is not what franchise anchors do. Say what you want about Kobe Bryant, he brings the effort every night and demands the same of his teammates. Bynum needs to have learned from that.

Then maybe he really will have moved beyond what Kareem was trying to teach him.

  1. money2long - Aug 15, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    did this trade officially make dwight howard and andrew bynum rivals?

  2. echech88 - Aug 15, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    Andrew is crazy talented but it goes beyond the fact he doesn’t bring it every night. The best word I can use to describe Bynum having watched his entire career is “petulant”.

    He is basically still a high school kid with a bad attitude and sense of entitlement. If he was having a bad a game or getting dominated by an opponent he would make sure he gave off the “I don’t care” vibe the rest of the game to make sure you knew that it wasn’t that he failed, but that he was too cool to try that night.

    Oh and then there’s the whole double parking in handicapped spots around LA, blasting music by his locker to avoid media and otherwise being a bratty 15 year old. Enjoy Philly!

    • ron05342 - Aug 15, 2012 at 12:42 PM

      Well said.

      I always liked Bynum, but this past year he got under my skin a bit, for all the reasons you enumerated in your posts above.

      If he ever does mature, and bring a consistent hard work ethic night in and night out, he is going to be absolutely scary. It was what I was always hoping for, just like the Lakers were. I guess their patience finally ran out.

  3. loungefly74 - Aug 15, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    i’m sure Howard appreciated KAJ’s words…

    well, regardless of this, i still wish AB the best of luck. he helped the Laker franchise win 2 titles.

  4. kevbarnett - Aug 15, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    Just watch these two videos…

    Olajuwon working with Dwight

    Kareem working with Andrew Bynum

    The part where Kareem says he doesn’t act like he knows everything, if he did he would be impossible to work with. I guess he finally knows everything and Kareem got tired of it.

  5. fanz928 - Aug 15, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    Once Dwight Howard get his post moves Dwight is going to be beast on defense and offense

    • bucsnsincity - Aug 15, 2012 at 3:54 PM

      I think I’ve heard that before, oh yea 3-4 years ago

    • camnellum12 - Aug 15, 2012 at 5:40 PM

      LOL If Dwight couldn’t learn from Patrick Ewing, I don’t think Howard can handle the high basketball IQ of Kareem. Even though Drew cruised in games, he isn’t given enough credit for being a smart player. Bynum can’t pass out of doubles, but knows how to exploit his defender. Dwight is the 4th best post up player in LA, sadly.

  6. playin2x - Aug 15, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    He had Kobe and k.a.j. Helping him and he still did not give it his all.. I wish him the best but he needs to get his head straight

  7. manchestermiracle - Aug 15, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    Say, do the authors of these pieces write their own headlines? Or does an editor, like in the real newspapers? Just wondering why the headline of Contradictory Kurt’s article seems to be at odds with the content. I suppose not, though, since a decent editor could have caught all the mistakes.

    Kareem has said in the past that Bynum started to tune him out. Repeating it after Bynum is gone is hardly a slap upon departure. Bynum thinking he knows more than a multiple-title-winning, multiple-MVP, all-time high scoring legend is part of Andrew’s basic problem. We’ll see how that plays out in Philly, particularly since he’ll be relied upon much more heavily than he was in L.A.. Maybe this is the test he needs to get to the next level.

  8. unxpexted1 - Aug 15, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    This is another reason why the Lakers should have been his first choice of teams to play for instead on Nets. All brookyn has is Jay-z. Dwight is in a place where he can be the centerpiece of the franchise in a couple years under a franchise he knows is going to make strong efforts to win consistently. PLUS, being able to learn from one of the greatest centers of all time. Dwight has a little baby hook that he works on, but learning from the sky hook perfectionist could help Dwight be the total offensive he hasnt been thus far. just makes sense

    • gmen4life33 - Aug 15, 2012 at 2:34 PM

      I think the reason Dwight (me too if I had a choice) wanted to go to the Nets was because it would have been an unique path for him. If he won a ring with the Nets, he would instantly become a hero for that franchise forever. He might get a statue or something named after him, or a top excecutive job after he retires. If he wins a ring with LAL? “What, just one? Shaq was soo much better.”

      I mean look at Gasol. Dude took the soft comments, manned up, won 2 rings, and is still treated pretty poorly by Laker fans due to recent struggles. If Gasol had helped a different team win 2 rings, I am pretty sure he would get a tad less disrespect. Not trying to say anything bad about the Lakers because they are a very well run organization, but it is what it is.

      • guyaneserj - Aug 15, 2012 at 3:54 PM

        Excellent points gmen4life33!

      • eugenesaxe - Aug 15, 2012 at 9:03 PM

        Or maybe because he knew DWill would re-sign, and the billionaire owner would bring in enough help that howard could ride to a title?

      • manchestermiracle - Aug 15, 2012 at 9:21 PM

        When you get to the top level you want to measure yourself against the very best. The Lakers are renowned for pursuing (and getting) great centers who win titles. Howard understands this, Bynum maybe not so much. Going to a different team without the history that a Lakers-type organization has would be a unique path, but the real question is whether or not a team like the Nets would have won any titles at all even with Howard in the middle and Williams tossing him the ball.

        Howard may not win any rings in L.A., but his chances are measurably better than they’d be in Orlando or New Jersey (or Houston, for that matter). Winning begets winning and the Lakers are winners. Ask Boston, they know something about that, too.

    • 24thesho - Aug 15, 2012 at 3:24 PM

      The thing is, if Howard were truly a dominant scorer and learned more of the fundamentals, then he could have really put Brooklyn on the map and made some noise.

  9. bigbamboom1 - Aug 15, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    Dwight only has to work on one thing to become unstoppable as a Laker. And he can even do it while injured. Free Throw Shooting. If he trains and becomes a 60-70% FTS in LA, they will win at least 5 titles during his reign (2-3 in the Kobe/Pau/Nash era). So DH, get with Steve Nash right now and listen to him on FTS. It’s probably something really simple you’re not doing under pressure. But you have a ton of time now to master it. He will get to the foul line a ton because he plays very big down low on the blocks. He will get a ton of drop passes from Nash and Pau. Kobe will bail out more to the outside shooters because of his style of play. IMO, DH will average 18-20 Pts/16-18 rebounds/and 4-6 blocks per night in his sleep. That scoring average will balloon upwards only on the FT line.

  10. fordmandalay - Aug 15, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    Give Kareem his statue!

  11. lakerluver - Aug 15, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    D12’s focus on the court is going to make a huge difference for the LAKERS! I love Bynum but Kareem is right. The LAKERS just didn’t have the time to wait on Bynum to decide if he wanted to be great. D12 has his flaws but I’ve never seen him not play hard.

    • 24thesho - Aug 15, 2012 at 3:16 PM

      I have.

  12. lakerluver - Aug 15, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    At Dwight’s introduction he emphasized that his focus will be on defense and rebounds and that his offense is secondary. I loved hearing him say that!!!

    • 24thesho - Aug 15, 2012 at 3:20 PM

      It should be, because he has absolutely no shot and no real post moves and is a terrible free throw shooter. Overrated like a mug.

      • camnellum12 - Aug 15, 2012 at 5:31 PM

        I second that.

  13. fotydaze - Aug 15, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    Howard does nightly what bynum does occasionally, bynum was embarrassed by backup j. McGee in the playoffs. There’s really no comparison, Kareem is right on point!!! Glad that big cry baby is in philly now, he had kobe to hide behind here now it’s all on his own shoulders

  14. 00maltliquor - Aug 15, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    Hardly seems like a “smack”. Thankfully it wasn’t, I hate it when good players leave and all of a sudden everyone in the organization turns their back suddenly after years of praise. So disingenuine.

    Good luck ‘Drew, I’m really gonna miss you. I’ll be keeping up with Philly as much as I can to see how he progresses.

  15. thevza - Aug 15, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    Good luck with that, Philly. As a Laker fan I wrote off Bynum a year ago- he just doesn’t get it. There is a reason Kupchak was eager to trade him. Be careful your new “franchise” player doesn’t become a cancer to your younger players.

  16. rezdawg - Aug 15, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    How exactly is this “smacking” him on his way out?

    I was expecting Jabbar to have some very harsh words, but all he said is that Bynum loses focus sometimes…which everyone is well aware of.

  17. timb12 - Aug 15, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    Kareem is going to take him out back and beat him in a game of one on one. Similar to the way Rocky beat up Tommy Gunn in Rocky 5. Do it Kareem!

  18. mojosmagic - Aug 15, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    Bynum entered the league as a 17 year old. What were most of us like at that age? It’s up to him now.

    • manchestermiracle - Aug 15, 2012 at 9:32 PM

      That was eight years and $27 million dollars ago. Ninety nine point nine percent of us don’t get a nearly $2 million a year salary coming out of high school. How much more motivation does he need?

  19. mojosmagic - Aug 15, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    So the guy who never won anything, wines himself off a team he agreed to play for one more year, and runs around in a Superman cape is mature? OK. All a matter of perspective I guess.

  20. 11thstreetmafia - Aug 15, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    This guy is a clown

  21. chrisvegas - Aug 15, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    We all know Bynum has his immaturity issues, but aren’t we making to big of a deal of it? He is what 24? Young star players are often mature. Kobe was immature at that age and so was a million other star players. The truth is this is a GREAT deal for the sixers who have not had a elite center in forever. These guys don’t grow on trees and you have to commend the Sixers new ownership for going out and getting a Bigman something that the team and the fans have been starving for.

    Injury Prone? Immature? blah blah blah… The kid is young and he will mature going forward. This was the best possible option for the sixers to better their team and to get fans feeling excited again. I beleive this will work out in the long run. Sure they will have growing pains, but my hats of to Sixers ownership because they are on the right tract to building a contender.

  22. lakerluver - Aug 15, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    Bynum AND Howard are both great players. The LAKERS traded Bynum for a center that better fits what they want to do. I wish Bynum nothing but success in Philly. I expect him to be great there. Defensively, Dwight will make up for a lot of flaws on the LAKERS that Bynum was not physically capable of doing. Even Stan Van Gundy raved about Dwight’s feet and quickness. No matter what Bynum does he will never have the quickness or lateral movement that Dwight has. For the guy who said Dwight is overrated, you obviously know very little about basketball. If Dwight is overrated, Bill Russell was also overrated because Dwight’s game is similar to his. Look up Russell’s career scoring average. Dwight, like Russell, doesn’t have to score like Shaq to be dominant. I’m sure the LAKERS will take 16 pts, 15 rebounds and 4 blocks a game from D12 as long as we win a title.

    • scalfor3 - Aug 15, 2012 at 9:24 PM

      don’t put howard and bill russell in the same sentence. thats a joke

  23. mojosmagic - Aug 15, 2012 at 8:05 PM

    Laker is correct on all his points.

  24. lakerluver - Aug 15, 2012 at 9:50 PM

    The only difference in Russell and Howard is Russell spent his whole career playing with a team full of Hall of Famers and playing in an era where the NBA wasn’t nearly as good as it is now.

  25. lakerluver - Aug 15, 2012 at 10:03 PM

    If Mikan played in today’s NBA he’d still be a star. So would Wilt. If Russell played today he would be Serge Ibaka. Why do you think Russell is rarely mentioned in the GOAT conversation?

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