Kareem, who we last heard from when he recently complained about a lack of respect from the Lakers organization, wrote an open letter to Pippen, accusing the former Chicago Bull of having "limited perspective" when it comes to ranking the league's greatest.
You obviously never saw Wilt Chamberlain play who undoubtedly was the greatest scorer this game has ever known. When did MJ ever average 50.4 points per game plus 25.7 rebounds? (Wilt in the 1962 season when blocked shot statistics were not kept). We will never accurately know how many shots Wilt blocked. Oh, by the way in 1967 and 68, Wilt was a league leader in assists. Did MJ ever score 100 points in a game? How many times did MJ score more than 60 points in a game? MJ led the league in scoring in consecutive seasons for 10 years but he did this in an NBA that eventually expanded into 30 teams vs. when Wilt played and there were only 8 teams.Most of Abdul-Jabbar's points are valid although his last comment there may be a little flawed. Yes, there were fewer teams and fewer players. But today's athlete is bigger, faster, stronger and generally more talented. A lot of that is thanks to guys like Wilt and Kareem. As younger players watched the games of the greats, they were able to emulate and eventually elaborate on those skills. There's no denying the greatness of Bill Russell, but he never ran into anyone with the freakish combination of strength, size and speed that LeBron James possesses.
Kareem goes on in his letter to mention Russell's career accomplishments and says "the ring is the thing, and everything else is just statistics." Certainly rings have a lot to do with it, but championships are a team accomplishment. Kareem can't honestly believe he would have won six titles if he spent his whole career with the Milwaukee Bucks.
There are undoubtedly plenty of people who don't have the perspective to appreciate how good some of the NBA's legends truly were. In a fast-paced, Internet world, not a day goes by where something isn't declared The Greatest Thing/Person/Game Ever. And if everything else truly "is just statistics" as Kareem says, then it's disingenuous for him to lean on Wilt's numbers (but just two titles) to prove his superiority to Jordan or anyone.
But more than this...what's gotten into Kareem lately? It was never much of a secret that he was a grouchy fellow. But in the past he chose to live his curmudgeonly existence in relative silence. Recently, however, Cap has started firing shots every which way. While Russell has maintained his dignity and still remains one of the league's most respected figures with players past and present, Kareem is quickly turning into the old man yelling at the kids to get off his lawn.