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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar basically questions Andrew Bynum’s love of basketball

Dec 29, 2013, 3:30 PM EDT

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Andrew Bynum Getty Images

When the Los Angeles Lakers first drafted Andrew Bynum they brought in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as his personal coach — people forget Kareem was about as fundamentally sound a center as the game had seen. He seemed a good fit with the very raw Bynum.

Kareem tried to work with Bynum, but they clashed. It was the first of a lot of clashes over the course of Bynum’s young NBA career, one that has seen the highs of an NBA title and the lows of his lost season in Philadelphia.

The Cleveland Cavaliers gambled on Bynum this season and now they want to cut their losses — Bynum has been suspended indefinitely and is being shopped around for a trade. By Jan. 7 Bynum will either be moved or just outright cut in Cleveland.

Sunday Abdul-Jabbar took to Facebook and had these comments about Bynum.

I believe Andrew has always had the potential to help a team when he puts his heart into it. He just doesn’t seem to be consistent with his commitment to the game. That can lead to a lot of frustration for any team that has signed him.

When I worked with Andrew I found him to be bright & hardworking but I think he got bored with the repetitive nature of working on basketball fundamentals day in and day out… but they are the keys to long term success.

In my opinion Andrew is the type of person who walks to the beat of “a different drummer”. So we won’t know the facts until Andrew decides to tell us what actually is the issue and shares his thoughts.

What Kareem says here echoes what you hear out of Cleveland, and out of Bynum’s other NBA stops.

Bynum was suspended just after he with Coach Mike Brown amid Bynum’s minutes and touches dropping. Whatever was said after that meeting Bynum got suspended after it. People around Cleveland saw Bynum as a disruptive force in an already troubled locker room, they didn’t think he was working hard enough to get right.

This has always been the story with Bynum, teammates have long questioned his love of and committment to the game. He can work hard when motivated — which is often tied to getting his next big contract — but as Kareem notes getting good at basketball is about repetition. Stephen Curry makes 500 jump shots a day in the offseason for a reason. Bynum doesn’t enjoy that kind of detail work on his game, and it shows.

But he will get another chance. He has been up and down with Cleveland this season, Bynum is seen as a backup big man and while he will have to take a healthy pay cut with his next deal there will be a next one. Big men like Bynum are in short supply and some good teams (Heat, Clippers) are the kind that could be interested in him playing a limited reserve role.

  1. captainwisdom8888 - Dec 29, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    I can’t even remotely understand why any NBA team would want to employ this pathetic excuse for a professional athlete. The saying: “You get what you pay for,” DOES NOT apply to Andrew Bynum.

    • pbtunpaidwriter - Dec 29, 2013 at 5:10 PM

      Players need a change of scenery to rejuvenate their career. He was only 25 when they signed him and he’s a top 3 center at worst when healthy and playing to his potential. He’s one of only a handful of players to ever have 30 rebounds and 10 blocks in their career. He’s massive and dominant.

      When the Cavs signed him, many teams were pursuing him and I can’t blame them. Now his reputation has definitely taken a hit but the Clippers and Heat would do anything to sign him.

    • antistratfordian - Dec 29, 2013 at 7:03 PM

      Yeah, what would an NBA team want with a young 7 footer who was an all-star as recently as 2012? I don’t get it either.

      • pfic15 - Dec 29, 2013 at 7:26 PM

        That stat is highly overrated in today’s NBA. He is worthless at this point.

      • spthegr8 - Dec 29, 2013 at 7:50 PM

        @Anti
        “a young 7 footer”…. He may be young but his knee’s are older than Kareem’s!! & who cares what he did in 2012, he is NOWHERE near that level anymore and he won’t get there again. He won’t get here cuz of his knees and he doesn’t care too. Truth be told he doesn’t like basketball it’s just his job!! He’s DONE!! Whoever signs him is just asking for trouble!!

      • antistratfordian - Dec 29, 2013 at 8:20 PM

        Knees? Please. If Greg Oden can get a contract…

      • sportsfan18 - Dec 29, 2013 at 8:23 PM

        Having talent is only a part of it. So what that he was an all star only a few yrs ago?

        His MIND is toast right now.

        Now, in a few years, his love of money, I mean basketball will have returned…

      • antistratfordian - Dec 29, 2013 at 8:43 PM

        You fellas aren’t thinking like a GM. You’re not desperate enough. Someone out there wants him and is arrogant enough to think they can adjust his attitude and manage his knees.

      • spthegr8 - Dec 29, 2013 at 8:35 PM

        @Ani
        What about him not liking basketball & that’s not an assumption, just look @ his track record. He went to watch soccer instead having surgery on his knee so he could be ready for the start of the season. I mean, forget wether he “likes” it or not. I heard he really gave it his all in Philly to. LLS!!!

      • antistratfordian - Jan 19, 2014 at 6:30 AM

        You know what else is on his record? An All-Star appearance. So if he honestly doesn’t “like” basketball but can still do his job to a high enough standard where he becomes celebrated for it – then his personal level of interest in the game doesn’t really matter.

        I’d venture to guess that most people in this country do not like their jobs, but they still do them well enough. In fact, a lot of us are actually great at our jobs, even though we may hate it – and that’s okay as long as the work meets or exceeds a standard, you’re getting compensated, and both sides are satisfied with that agreement.

        Truth be told, Bynum is big enough to make an impact just standing in the lane and putting his arms up. He can do that job better than most while being completely disinterested.

      • ProBasketballPundit - Dec 29, 2013 at 9:37 PM

        Andrew Bynum was an all-star last year when he didn’t play a single game in Philadelphia?

      • antistratfordian - Dec 29, 2013 at 11:56 PM

        No, he was an all-star in 2012.

    • racyman57 - Dec 29, 2013 at 9:40 PM

      He may not love the game, but he does love the money. I guess he needs to figure out that he needs to actually play to his level and put in the work needed to succeed, or the money won’t continue to be there. I’m probably wrong. Some other team will buy into his BS and pay him a few million. I swear, there are some owners.GM’s in pro sports, that display no common sense.

    • ans2034 - Dec 31, 2013 at 3:11 PM

      Agreed. He’s disgracing the game of basketball but most of all himself.

      It will come to a point where no team will want him because they hear and see first hand what happens what he does and acts what he doesn’t get what he wants.

      Pathetic, ungrateful punk.

  2. norcalkingsfan - Dec 29, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    Just a lazy, selfish kid. One day he will look back in regret. Let’s move along.

    • spthegr8 - Dec 29, 2013 at 7:51 PM

      ^^^^^^ In a NUTSHELL!!! ^^^^^^

  3. pbtunpaidwriter - Dec 29, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    There’s no cure for not loving the game. Millions would die to be a basketball player at the end of the bench in the NBA. Bynum has been injured but he doesn’t seem to have a love for the game and looks like he’s going through the motions.

    He’s been blessed with height and size that separates him in the league. If he was just 2 or 3 inches shorter, he could very well be a bum on the streets. He takes his place in the league for granted.

  4. JHathwell - Dec 29, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    Always love it when bitter fans take out their frustrations on someone like this. What can you say, really, if the guy just doesn’t love what he does? Does that make him a bad person?

    Better yet, if someone offered you 15mm a year to do something you don’t really enjoy, would you say no?

    Sports fans can be such bitter hypocrites.

    • jimeejohnson - Dec 29, 2013 at 4:39 PM

      Ain’t no time to hate.

    • makeham98 - Dec 29, 2013 at 5:00 PM

      Always love it when bitter people take out their frustrations on other people with opinions anonymously. If you didn’t want a job and someone offered you a lot of money to do it, would you go out of your way repeatedly to make sure they regretted giving you the chance?

      Anonymous posters can be such bitter hypocrites.

      • JHathwell - Dec 29, 2013 at 5:51 PM

        Anonymous posters?

      • davidly - Dec 29, 2013 at 6:03 PM

        Playing a sport that will lead to a permanent hobble when your playing days are over, getting multiple surgeries that cost a huge chunk of change, and rehabbing to get back on the court only to have a disagreement about your limited role or playing time is not exactly “going out of your way repeatedly to make sure they regretted giving you the chance”.

      • dinofrank60 - Dec 29, 2013 at 9:36 PM

        That’s what sports fans do. They, like a lot of people, like to tell others what to do. That’s the national sport, telling people what to do; how to live their lives.
        We tell owners how to spend their money and players how much they should be making. We tell the media who to criticize, then tell them that are too critical.
        We want owners to be responsive to us, we want the players to notice us, we want the media to agree with us.
        We want the players to love what they do, because we love what they do and a lot of us would give their lives to do what they do.
        We’re not supposed to get overly emotional over this, yet a lot of us put their self-worth into whether their team wins or loses.
        What Bynum is doing is no different than what a lot of people have done and will do. It’s up to every fan to figure out whether you want to root for the guy; if you don’t, so be it. You ain’t committing a crime.

    • jusdre313 - Dec 29, 2013 at 5:32 PM

      I agree 100% everyone thinks just because your tall and was blessed with that height you should automatically be in love with palying basketball.. maybe he does it just for the money.. whats wrong with that??

      can everyone posting on here TRULY say they love their job and its not about the money?? or if someone offered you a job you really didnt care for but the pay was beyond great. that you wouldnt go for it..

      Bynum just doest care for the game.. and if teams keep signing him, knowing this, than thats on the GM, not Bynum, and you can be mad at Bynum if you want.. But hes not cutting them checks himself thats the teams. Bottom line everyone doesnt love there job some just do it for $$, stop hating because he just happens to make alot more than the average guy.

      • davidly - Dec 29, 2013 at 5:58 PM

        Great point. Studies on the topic have consistently that the vast majority of the working population is unhappy with their jobs and wouldn’t do them were it not for the money.

        I think many fans begrudge players that same detachment because they see sports as fun and/or that millions of dollars solves everything.

      • dinofrank60 - Dec 29, 2013 at 9:19 PM

        The money’s fine; get what you can get. And if he doesn’t like his job, well, there are millions of people who could say the same thing. Though if I were miserable, no amount of money would be enough. That wears on you and it shows up, sooner or later.
        But he’s trying to convince everyone of how good he is, how he doesn’t have to work that hard to be a success. How he should get touches without working hard for them. How he should be the man.
        A guy like him should never let Dwight Howard and Kendrick Perkins make a fool of him. He should dominate them. This is a guy that went at Shaq back in the day.

    • davidly - Dec 29, 2013 at 5:53 PM

      You said it, brother. It is a common phenomenon among sports fans but, still, the near unanimity and extremity of the hatred expressed toward Bynum on this forum seems bizarre.

      • JHathwell - Dec 29, 2013 at 6:06 PM

        Or of any guy who appears to be playing for the money. Actually, I feel the same way about this that I do about fans who bury guys for not taking discounts. Like, somehow Kobe is a selfish prick for getting full market value for his services, but the owner who is making significantly more off of Kobe is a wonderful chap.

        Why side with the billionaire over the millionaire.

      • jusdre313 - Dec 29, 2013 at 6:48 PM

        @davidly & Jhathwell. EXACTLY.. they will keep thumbing down but nobody offers a rebuttal… typical

      • spursareold - Dec 30, 2013 at 6:08 PM

        Kobe is cutting his own throat in this case. The Lakers will be under the cap next summer, but not by very much. If he takes a bigger cut, he isn’t giving the owners a break, he’s getting better team mates to line up with him next year. The Buss family has to spend a certain minimum amount on salary. It doesn’t save them a dime if he takes $10M. They just get better players with the remainder of the cap. It’s money they HAVE to spend, per the CBA. Kobe just made sure they spent it on him.

    • louhudson23 - Dec 30, 2013 at 4:47 AM

      Whatever Andrew Bynum is,he is not a professional basketball player. He is a check casher. This is not a criminal offense.But as fans,criticizing his poor play,lack of work ethic and character is totally within our rights. Anyone who fails to do their best at the job they are paid for fits this description.While his employers take much of the blame for his continued employment,they hired him with the understanding that they would receive his best efforts.Just as any employer does. Best efforts means doing all possible to improve.It means doing all possible to further the goals of the company,your fellow employees and the customers of the company. You don’t have to love it,but you do have to care and perform. He does neither. When someone acts in this manner,they are liable to be held accountable,as Bynum is by the fans of his sport,and his employer. Whether a job is your dream job,or a temporary stop on your way to your dreams,or simply the situation you unwillingly find yourself in,absolutely no one benefits from lack of effort or caring.Whatever you do,no matter how low or high the pay or status,failing to put forth full effort benefits no one.You owe it to yourself and those around you to do your best or go and do something else. If you want to be a busker on the street,then strive to be the best busker on the street,otherwise,you can expect to hear the negative comments on your efforts…Question my talent,question my intellect,but never can you question my effort.Ditch digger to business owner and many points in between…..it never happened….

      • davidly - Dec 30, 2013 at 7:55 AM

        You don’t have to love it,but you do have to care and perform. He does neither.

        If he didn’t care, he’d have taken the substantial amount of money he’d already earned, saved a goodly amount on additional surgery, and not bothered trying to get a spot on anyone’s team.

        Had certain managers’ not insisted on trying to squeeze something out of his knees, it’d save him a lot of pain. A pain, by the way, that most people don’t really understand. Those who have gone full-court at the Y can perhaps get a sliver of a notion what it’s be like to play dozens of games on deteriorating-rebuilt-deteriorating knees and legs.

        So, no, he doesn’t have to love it, he doesn’t have to play. That doesn’t mean that some of the casual commentary made about him isn’t infused with irrational & overly emotionally laden vitriol.

        Too many sports fans (and I guess people in general) seem to lack a sense of proportion–not to mention empathy.

      • JHathwell - Dec 30, 2013 at 4:05 PM

        It’s a bit of a stretch to call Bynum, a former all-star and a kid who worked hard enough to become one of the two or three best centers in the league, a check casher.

        More accurate to say he may have lost whatever desire or motivation he once had, but to diminish his accomplishments is just plain wrong.

      • spursareold - Dec 30, 2013 at 6:03 PM

        The fact that Bynum was an All Star says less about his work ethic than it does about the dearth of bigs that can walk and chew gum at the same time.

  5. money2long - Dec 29, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    heat fans are not ready to trash him yet as there are rumors he may soon be one of them

    • spthegr8 - Dec 29, 2013 at 7:54 PM

      @Money
      His knees are Brittle & he has the motivation of my obese friend & after a MONSTER bowl hit. They can have him!!

    • money2long - Dec 30, 2013 at 2:34 AM

      notice anti on this page becoming bynum’s biggest apologist because he’s already envisioning bynum in red and black jerseys. lol. playing his position now just in case he signs in miami . hah oh boy.

      • spthegr8 - Dec 30, 2013 at 12:32 PM

        @Money
        Of course he is Homie. He agree’s with anything the Heat do. They could sign Justin Bieber and he would be on here talkin about Bieber for 6th man of the year. LLS!!!!

      • money2long - Dec 30, 2013 at 2:42 PM

        comment of the year !

    • macka4 - Dec 30, 2013 at 7:37 AM

      Sure, since Heat only need bench help, not starting caliber stars at this point.

  6. csbanter - Dec 29, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    Bynum on the Blazers make them NBA champs.

    • macka4 - Dec 30, 2013 at 7:38 AM

      More like NBA Chumps.

    • spursareold - Dec 30, 2013 at 6:12 PM

      Bynum on the Blazers ensures some sort of career ending injury for him.

  7. shanelsweet - Dec 29, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    Not so sure the Cavs dump him. He’s on a reasonable contract that another team may consider trading for him. Don’t be too surprised if the Cavs keep him past Jan. to trade him before Feb.

  8. hojo20 - Dec 29, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    Andrew Bynum = garbage

  9. cyncerebeliever - Dec 29, 2013 at 7:00 PM

    Regardless of Bynum’s recent encounters, Andrew is a Champion and has proven himself in his career. Some
    people do things differently, and do run into a problem or two. Unfortunately for the Caveliers, they seem to run into trouble
    more often than the Champion Andrew Bynum. Maybe there is an internal issue as well in Cleavland. Nevertheless basketball is a complicated sport, and a lot of times the drama comes from the people who do not even hit the courts anyway. Good luck to the young champion Andrew Bynum, and oh well to Cleavland, looks like they lost another star!

  10. 4thehaters - Dec 29, 2013 at 8:00 PM

    You can’t make someone do what they don’t want to do. In this case, you can’t make Bynum play where he does not want to play regardless of how much you pay him. His heart is with the purple and gold, and i bet if he was to go back, he would be great for them as he was. His knees would all of a sudden be ok, just like Dwight all of a sudden he’s ok with Houston after complaints about his back and shoulder with LA. Bynum will play again. He’s not done. It’s just where does he really want to play? It wasn’t phili and it ain’t cleveland. The reason he did show up and play was to show other teams, he can still play the game.

    People forget that professional athletes are multi millionaires. When you make that much money, you develop a certain attitude. You’re gonna do what you want, and you don’t have to listen to anybody. Saying rich people are stubborn snobs is true.

    You all can call him garbage, diss him, and make negative remarks about him, but how would you do on the court against him? would you be able to score on him, and stop him from scoring, yet box him out for a rebound?

    • sportsfan18 - Dec 29, 2013 at 8:14 PM

      We don’t have to box him out for a rebound, he’s ALREADY done that to himself.

      And YES, you do have to listen to people still.

      Andrew’s attitude will get adjusted quickly.

  11. sportsfan18 - Dec 29, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    In about 4 to 5 yrs, if that, we’ll all read about Andrew rediscovering his love of money, er basketball again.

  12. ddpenny - Dec 29, 2013 at 10:49 PM

    that is why the Cavs is one of the worst organization. they gambled but making bynum look bad won’t help them get a trade partner.

    • spursareold - Dec 30, 2013 at 6:14 PM

      They were smart enough to handle him with tongs in the form of a series of graduated guarantees. If they cut him, they will only be out about the amount of an MLE contract.

    • spursareold - Dec 30, 2013 at 6:18 PM

      They just might find a partner who wants to offload salary and use his partially guaranteed deal to do so. Not all trades are about player value.

  13. onlyavoice - Dec 29, 2013 at 11:11 PM

    Head case Jabbar speaks about someone else to put himself in the spotlight.
    Did he ask to have the interview in front of the statue he had the Lakers make.
    Cavs Suck. They hype ball hog no defense Irving to sell seats.
    The guy would be a liability coming off the bench for the Heat.
    I see that Mike Brown knows how to coach LOL. Still living off of Lebron.
    Like he knows how to handle star players (Kobe had him fired)
    Bynum will go to a contender & he will play.
    The Cavs will again be the laughing stock that Lemonade Dan Gilbert made them to be.

  14. thetooloftools - Dec 30, 2013 at 1:27 AM

    She should have never been signed by Cleveland.

  15. harshedmellow - Dec 30, 2013 at 1:36 AM

    He’ll be broke in under 5 years.

    Oden was mentioned earlier. The contrast is stark. Oden has heart; his body just imploded. That’s why so many are hoping he gets to still have an impact, even if a much smaller one than a #1 overall should have.

    Bynum is immature and lacks perspective on how utterly blessed he is, and what an opportunity he STILL HAS. Too bad.

  16. propwash3 - Dec 30, 2013 at 4:42 AM

    Bynum shows signs of mental illness weather it be depression to ADHD, whatever. If he doesn’t except help then we have an issue. Bring in Phil Jackson to help straighten things out.

  17. metalhead65 - Dec 30, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    the fact he will get another chance is the problem. teams should smart enough to see that just because he is tall does not mean he is worth the trouble he brings. if he is not willing to put the work in required to earn his paycheck then why would you pay him? it is ok to have a life outside the game but when you put as little effort as he does into the game why would you pay him more than the league min. to play for you? I hate the Lakers but he was in the perfect place to play there and blew it. if you do not want to play hard for a team that is always in the discussion for a shot at the title what makes you think he will care about turning your losing team into a winner? let him move on with his life and sign a guy who wants that chance more than anything and your team will be better off.

  18. redbaronx - Dec 30, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    For all of those backing Bynum, it’s absolutely absurd to pay this guy multiple times what he is worth. It’s become obvious that he’s in this for the free lunch, and has no problem milking teams for money when he has no intent of working on his profession. I get Kareem’s point, but it’s not about “loving the game”. It’s about being professional and working for what you get paid for, and not sitting around playing PlayStation at home for a year and a half. Lots of people don’t LOVE their jobs. But they still work hard!

    • jusdre313 - Dec 30, 2013 at 9:28 PM

      “Lots of people don’t LOVE their jobs. But they still work hard!”

      i hear what you are saying but dont agree with this line you put. I AM one of these people who doesnt love my job.. but i still work my ass because thats MY work ethic.. every one doesnt possess that though.

      If you are a hard worker at your gig like you say you are. follow me… now sit back for a sec and think of all those people you work with that are slackers, dodge work, try to do the bare minimum etc etc? You think its not like this in Professional sports?? why because of the $$???… I think its easy for people to say what they would do or how they would conduct themselves if THEY were in that postion, when alot of people dont know the first thing it took for that person to get the position someone like Bynum is in.

      my point. Yeah everyone SHOULD have that hard work ethic, but they dont. Hell everyone should be a nice a person, and treat people like they want to be treated. But how often does that happen???

      I think the bottom line is that people think if you make “this amount of money” you should be working harder, more disciplined etc etc, people fail to realize these athletes are regular people just like us. and IMO someones salary doesnt automatically make them except from being laziness or being a bad worker. Up to the employer whether or not to retain his or her services.

      • redbaronx - Jan 19, 2014 at 1:49 PM

        @jusdre313 – I hate to say this, but I think that despite your “disagreeing” you ended up reinforcing my point! My point was that Bynum doesn’t show up to work! It’s OK if people have different work ethic, but to simply expect to be paid for jogging up and down the court is insulting and in a normal job he’d be FIRED! The Cavs were smart enough to put a clause in his contract that allowed them to get rid of him. Had the Bulls trade not occurred, the Cavs could have cancelled Bynum’s contract. Essentially firing him.

        But in Philly they didn’t have that kind of contract and Philly was stuck with him. It is evident Bynum wants to play ball recreationally and get paid, then rag on his coworkers for not putting in enough effort. THAT is what is wrong here!

  19. mrlitl - Dec 30, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    Louhudson

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. Love your job or hate it. But DO it. That’s what you were hired for. NBA player or cashier at Wendy’s. If you’re getting paid, you don’t have the right to NOT do your job.

  20. johnmr12 - Dec 30, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    The guy was the starting center for an NBA championship team. He has more rings than Barkley and Malone combined. Yes, he is a head case, but if a team can get him cheap, it’s worth the risk.

  21. chargerdillon - Dec 30, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    Maturity is and has always be the crux of the problem with Andrew Bynum.

    Remember taking 3 point shots just……because.
    Remember hacking Andrea Branani….whatever his name is to the floor
    Remember nonstop disputes with neighbors over loud music in his community

    Andrew Bynum is the epitome of the the 7-foot fourteen year old who was always bigger and looked older than everybody else so he never had to grow up and accept real limitations in life.

    He walked onto the Lakers, won championships, and became a millionaire without ever really maturing. Teams continue to think he has value so why shouldn’t he.

    • mackcarrington - Dec 30, 2013 at 3:15 PM

      And lets not forget him parking in handicapped parking spaces… crossways!
      And becoming indignant when questioned about it.

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