COWEN: A few basketball questions. I know
you’ve been asked this before, but I’d like to press on the details a bit. Your skyhook
was unstoppable, pretty much. You’re the leading scorer in NBA history. You won a finals
MVP award 14 years apart. That’s maybe your greatest record, actually. No one could stop
it. My guess is no one today could stop it. Very few players, if any, have really had
a significant skyhook, and why don’t they learn it?
ABDUL-JABBAR: The reason that young kids today don’t learn how to shoot hook shots is because
everybody is so enamored with the three-point shot. So the kids, they don’t want two points.
They don’t want to work with their back to the basket. That’s not cool. They want
to go out there in the stratosphere and shoot three-pointers.
I didn’t think that that worked. For the longest time, that did not work as solid basketball
strategy. But now when we have a time — when you have people like Stephen Curry, who can
shoot the ball, he can — I’ve never seen anybody shoot like that. I’ll give
you an explanation. They showed Stephan shooting 100 three-point
shots in practice. He made 92 out of 100 from the three-point arc, including 77 in a row.
This is just practicing. Anybody that can shoot like that is on a different plane from
all the guys that I played against, and the people that I saw when I first started watching
the game in 1960. I never seen anybody shoot the ball like that.
If that is the coming talent level of NBA players, they’re going to be forgetting
a lot about the guys that played in my era and the earlier eras of the NBA because the
talent level of the guys playing now has really risen.
But they’re not teaching the kids how to score in the paint with their back to the
basket, and, therefore, a lot of them don’t get to learn the hook shot, and they don’t
get to realize that if you get close to the basket, a lot more of your shots will go in.
They don’t seem to understand that. That was the first thing that I learned, and
so I worked on that hook shot and learned how to get positioned close to the basket
where I can get my hook shot off.