Kevin McHale was a great defender in his day—he was pretty much the best defender in basketball history, a decade after he played his last game. But while this must be viewed as a positive, it also made McHale a target, not only for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but also for the many other players who wanted to score on him. During his prime, McHale was probably the most well-known (and hated) player in the league; Kareem was the most famous and best player, but he was not the only one who wanted to score on McHale.
Kevin McHale knew that if you’re going to get beaten by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, you might as well get beat by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar while you’re winning. Even in the worst of times, when it looked like the sky was falling and the Lakers were a lost cause, McHale’s approach to the game was to win, win, and win some more.
Kevin McHale was a legendary defender in his own right during his 20-year NBA career. He helped lead the Boston Celtics to the 1985 NBA championship, and he was voted to the All-Defensive First Team five times. In fact, McHale was selected to the All-NBA First Team six times, and he was the league’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1991. Throughout his career, McHale was known for his play on the defensive end, and his aggressive style of play was one of the main reasons that he was so successful on the court.. Read more about kareem jabbar and let us know what you think.
The Boston Celtics were one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference throughout the 1980s. The Los Angeles Lakers, on the other hand, were a powerhouse capable of giving any opponent nightmares. Just ask Kevin McHale what he thinks about it.
Despite being a competent defender, the striker was put off by the sight of purple and gold. McHale couldn’t tolerate going up against Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, despite his brilliance.
Kevin McHale was a savvy low-post player who could play both offensively and defensively.
Defense, as the cliché goes, wins championships. Kevin McHale had you covered on both sides of the court, even if you prioritized the offensive side of the game.
McHale proved to be a competent scorer for the Celtics, despite taking many seasons to establish himself as a reliable starter. During his 13 seasons in Boston, he averaged 17.9 points per game, and he was capable of scoring more than 20 points each night at his peak. You could almost always count on the ball tickling the twine after he got an opponent inside his “torture chamber” on the low block.
The big guy didn’t slack off on defense. For his career, he averaged 4.9 defensive rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game, and he had a penchant for torturing his opponents with his 6-foot-10 height and overall length. McHale was also named to three All-Defensive First Teams and three All-Defensive Second Teams, demonstrating that he wasn’t only a box score stuffer.
While you might cynically argue that having Larry Bird on your side makes winning easier, McHale was instrumental in three NBA championships. His number 32 is hung from the rafters in Beantown for a reason.
Defending Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was still a chore for Kevin McHale.
Despite his skill, McHale was still faced with the difficult task of guarding some of the league’s best offensive players. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, on the other hand, stands head and shoulders above the others in the former Celtic’s eyes.
The presenter of The Dan LeBetard Show presented a statement from Chares Barkley in which the forward claimed McHale caused him nightmares during a 2017 episode. The Celtics big guy who filled that position in his recollection was then questioned by LeBetard.
“Kareem was one of the people I couldn’t stop,” McHale said. “We played those guys in a lot of important games. When you think of Kareem and the game, you think of the Magic Showtime Lakers, which they were, and, speaking of Magic, one of the greatest players ever, but man, they turned to Kareem late in those close games on the right box, and I’ll tell you what. Oh, my God.”
Unsurprisingly, Abdul-trademark Jabbar’s Sky Hook brought up some unpleasant memories for the power forward.
“You attempted to smack it to the ground. McHale said, “Look, you tried everything.” “At the end of the day, you couldn’t do anything about it. That Sky Hook had to be the most… 38,000 points, huge shots, big games, and you simply knew where the ball was going. He has the potential to pass. I don’t believe Kareem gets enough credit for being one of the best players of all time.”
Robert Parish also had to offer some major compliments to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Kevin McHale of the Boston Celtics defends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. | Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe/Getty Images
Despite the Celtics’ and Lakers’ renowned rivalry, McHale wasn’t the first Boston player to praise Kareem. On many instances, Robert Parish has lavished praise on the big guy.
Parish said that Michael Jordan had never defeated a really great team on route to an NBA title during an interview on the In the Post with Elvin Hayes podcast. Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were the players that really deserved the attention, according to the Chiefs. “Assemble them in whatever sequence you want. They are, in my view, the three greatest ever,” he said.
During a Cedric Maxwell Podcast interview, Parish would go into more detail on Abdul-Jabbar. The Chiefs used the opportunity to debate Jordan’s claim to the GOAT label when questioned about the Lakers’ big man.
Parish said, “I don’t agree with that evaluation.” “Michael was a tremendous player in his day, and you have to credit him for winning six championships in a row, including two three-peats. I understand and appreciate your point of view. But you know Kareem, as wonderful as Michael was and as talented as he was. That skyhook couldn’t be stopped.”
Regardless of your feelings on the NBA GOAT discussion, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is deserving of a spot near the top. At the very least, he accomplished enough to leave an indelible mark on the Boston Celtics.
Basketball-Reference.com provided the statistics.
‘There isn’t a White Guy on the Planet Who Can Guard Me,’ Larry Bird once told Charles Barkley during a game.
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