NBA Finals: Lakers faced issues with humidity, no air conditioning vs. Boston in 1984 Finals

The air conditioning remained shut off. A star player appeared negatively affected by the conditions. And his opponent gleefully took advantage of the circumstances.

That about sums up the San Antonio Spurs’ 110-95 Game 1 victory over the Miami Heat, a game that featured a broken AC unit, LeBron James missed the last part of the fourth quarter because of cramps and the Spurs reeling off 16 of the game’s last 19 points. Similar circumstances happened in Game of the 1984 NBA Finals between the Lakers and Boston Celtics, a contest that featured such steamy conditions that it became dubbed “The Heat Game.”

The Lakers had entered the Boston Garden accustomed to the arena’s lack of air conditioning. But this time, it became too unbearable. That never-ending reality coupled with a Boston heat wave set up temperatures inside the building that CBS reported to be measured at 97 degrees, leading many central characters suddenly evaporating on the court.

The Boston Globe’s Bob Ryan reported referee Hugh Evans needed to stop at halftime due to dehydration. Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar needed to breathe out of an oxygen mask during stoppage time as he labored through a 7 of 25 performance. And with the Lakers lacking much from their star player, the Celtics largely benefited from Larry Bird posting 34 points on 15-of-20 shooting and 17 boards.

““I play in this stuff all the time back home,” Bird said, according to Pro Basketball Talk. “It’s like this all summer.”
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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tabs Tim Duncan as his favorite current NBA player

San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) shoots over Miami Heat center Chris Bosh (1) during the first half in Game 1 of the NBA basketball finals on Thursday, June 5, 2014, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, Pool)

San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) shoots over Miami Heat center Chris Bosh (1) during the first half in Game 1 of the NBA basketball finals on Thursday, June 5, 2014, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, Pool)

Anytime they stepped on the court and touched the ball, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Tim Duncan performed simple feats that still became miraculous and impossible to duplicate.

With a simple sky hook, Abdul-Jabbar became arguably the NBA’s best center, the league’s all-time leading scorer and winner of six NBA championships and six MVP awards. Mostly with the Lakers. With a simple game predicated on bank shots and footwork, Duncan became arguably the NBA’s best power forward, a continuously evolving and healthy post-player and facilitator and winner of four NBA championships and three MVP awards. All of them with the San Antonio Spurs with possibly more hardware to come.

That is why it hardly seems surprising that Abdul-Jabbar hardly hesitated when former Lakers play-by-play announcer and SiriusXM NBA Radio host Joel Meyers asked to name his favorite current NBA player.

“Tim Duncan,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “He’s very fundamental and every postseason his team is going a lot further than a lot of the other teams. They have a pretty good number of world championships. They keep riding Tim Duncan.”
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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to host one-hour show Wednesday on SiriusXM NBA Radio

 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, smiling during pregame festivities last year at Dodger Stadium to commemorate Jackie Robinson Day, sees potential for growth with the Milwaukee Bucks, where he won an NBA title in 1971. (Andy Holzman/Staff Photographer)

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, smiling during pregame festivities last year at Dodger Stadium to commemorate Jackie Robinson Day, sees potential for growth with the Milwaukee Bucks, where he won an NBA title in 1971. (Andy Holzman/Staff Photographer)

The man who once shied away from the press suddenly has embraced it.

Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will host a one-hour show on SiriuxXM NBA Radio at 4 p.m. PST on Wednesday, previewing both the 2014 NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs. It appears likely Abdul-Jabbar will address more than just on Gregg Popovich’s coaching, Tim Duncan’s longevity or LeBron James’ dominance.

He might dive into with his issue that James touted himself as a future candidate on the so-called Mt. Rushmore among NBA greats. Abdul-Jabbar may reflect on his own storied 20-year career that entailed six NBA championships, including five with the Lakers, five MVP’s and a the top place on the league’s all-time scoring list. Abdul-Jabbar may analyze the Lakers’ offseason, including their coaching search, upcoming NBA Draft and the uncertainty surrounding Kobe Bryant’s health. Abdul-Jabbar will also provide his two cents on current NBA issues, including embattled Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racially charged comments and the league aiming to increase the age limit for draft prospects to enter the NBA.

For sure, Abdul-Jabbar will plug his own projects. He plans to release his ninth book this year and also partnered with Starguard Collectibles, which has sold some of his sports memorabilia, including an acrylic painting of the former UCLA star and his inked fingerprint on a signed basketball for $5,600.

The show will also be rebroadcast on June 5 at midnight ET/9:00 pm PT and will also be available on SiriusXM On Demand. The special will be co-hosted by SiriusXM NBA Radio’s Joel Meyers.

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar believes Kobe Bryant’s “body is breaking down”

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shows interest linking with Milwaukee Bucks ownership group

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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HBO Sports producing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar documentary

HBO Sports is beginning to produce a documentary on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

HBO Sports is beginning to produce a documentary on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s story will be told.

The one that will detail how he became the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, six-time NBA champion, two-time NCAA champion with UCLA and five-time MVP after mastering the skyhook. The one that will explain how he became an accomplished author, actor and filmmaker. The one that will trace why for all the success Abdul-Jabbar experienced on the hardwood, he experienced social challenges off of it.

HBO Sports and Mandalay Sports Media have partnered with Abdul-Jabbar’s business company, Iconomy, and began producing a documentary on the former Lakers’ star that will debut in early 2015 on HBO.

“Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a legendary figure and an American sports icon,” HBO President Ken Hershman said in a statement. “While he has lived so much of his life in the media spotlight, his extraordinary story has never been explored in depth, and we are grateful to Kareem and his team for allowing us to bring this story to life.”

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Donald Sterling scandal: Steve Nash, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar among Lakers’ supporters at L.A. City Hall

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar speaks during a press conference at Los Angeles city hall regarding NBA Commissioner Adam Silver's banning of Donald Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers or the NBA April 29, 2014.(Andy Holzman/Los Angeles Daily News)

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar speaks during a press conference at Los Angeles city hall regarding NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s banning of Donald Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers or the NBA April 29, 2014.(Andy Holzman/Los Angeles Daily News)

Something about the Clippers sparked an emotional chord with the Lakers.

This did not involve outrage over the Clippers displaying posters that covered up the Lakers’ championship banners and retired jerseys. This did not entail the Lakers expressing resentment over the Clippers’ superior success. This focused on the reaction surrounding Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racially denigrating comments on an audio tape.

Former Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, forward A.C. Green, current guard Steve Nash and former forward Luke Walton represented a handful of both former and current NBA players going to L.A. City Hall on Tuesday to express their support for NBA commissioner Adam Silver punishing Sterling with a life-time ban.

“When you get this many Lakers to stand up for the Clippers,” Mayor Eric Garcetti quipped, “you know something big is happening in L.A.”
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Donald Sterling controversey: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar calls for Clippers owner to cede control

Former UCLA and Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, spinning a basketball while visiting children last year in the Alemao complex slum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is interested in joining part of a future Milwaukee Bucks ownership group. (Victor R. Caivano/The Associated Press)

Former UCLA and Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, spinning a basketball while visiting children last year in the Alemao complex slum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is interested in joining part of a future Milwaukee Bucks ownership group. (Victor R. Caivano/The Associated Press)

Amid Clippers owner Donald Sterling purported to have made racially disparaging comments on an audio tape obtained by TMZ, Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar called him for him to cede his control of the franchise.

“Donald Sterling’s recent comments confirm that he is guilty of the systematic racism that he’s been accused of for the past 14 years,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote on his Facebook page. “The best possible outcome would be for him to voluntarily give up his franchise so a new owner who reflects the values of America can take over. In the meantime, we all need to continue to support the Clippers, who clearly are enduring a moral crisis. At a time like this, it’s important that they remember that, though the team is owned by Sterling, they are not defined by him anymore than Americans are defined by any one elected official. The players are defined by their actions. And right now their actions should reflect their commitment to the fans and to showing the world that the players live up to the principles of equality.”

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark MEdina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Clippers balloons draped on Lakers’ statues

The Clippers have already draped their player-featured posters over the Lakers’ championship banners and retired jersey. They have at least temporarily taken away the conversation from the Lakers’ woes that ensured their worst season since moving to Los Angeles 54 years ago and shifted talk to their first-round series against Golden State. And now, the Clippers have done this – tie red-and-blue balloons onto the heels of every Lakers statue outside Staples Center.

Yup, the video above shows balloons around Magic Johnson and Jerry West while they direct the offense, around Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as he shoots a skyhook and while around the late Chick Hearn while he calls the action.

All of this will lead to inevitable outrage among Lakers fans. They will stew about the apparent disrespect even though the Clippers can host their games at Staples Center however they see fit. They will make jokes that the Clippers feature balloons while the Lakers feature statues. They will brag about the Lakers’ storied championship history. They will then lament that foundation won’t temporarily fix the Lakers’ lost season.

There is an easy solution of course: don’t look at the balloons. There’s a more difficult solution: the Lakers’ quest to rebuild quickly.

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Golden State’s Mark Jackson keeping the faith through uncertainty


Dirk Nowitzki tells Steve Nash he’s skeptical he’d return if he had similar injury

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar partners with Starguard Collectibles

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

The man once shied away from autograph seekers, and the reasons went beyond Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s introverted personality and penchant for privacy.

He also became increasingly skeptical with the intentions.

“Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan would have to have 50 arms a piece to sign as much bogus stuff as I see out there,” Abdul-Jabbar said in a recent interview with this newspaper. “People come to me with fake jerseys. They’re ripping me off, but they want me to sign it. I’m not going to do it. They get [ticked]. It’s a big mess.”

To address that issue, Abdul-Jabbar partnered with Starguard Collectibles in conjunction with Amazon.com to sell of his sports memorabilia that remains truly authentic. For example, one of Abdul-Jabbar’s collectible items includes an acrylic painting of wearing a UCLA uniform, his inked fingerprint on a signed basketball and a basketball card for $5,600. Abdul-Jabbar other NBA stars, including Bill Walton, Michael Cooper and A.C. Green, are featured as well. All the memorabilia are sold directly from athletes, and the items are authenticated and verified using the athlete’s DNA.

“We wanted to do something where everything is verifiable,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “That’s one of the things about Amazon, it guarantees everything. We had to have our stuff together to get them to come on board. I think that’s the best people for us to be involved in because we can verify everything. All of our stuff you can check it.”

RELATED:

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scoffs at LeBron James’ “Mt. Rushmore”

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar believes Kobe Bryant’s “body is breaking down”

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shows interest linking with Milwaukee Bucks ownership group

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scoffs at LeBron James’ “Mt. Rushmore”

LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat drives on Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers during a game at American Airlines Arena on January 23, 2014 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat drives on Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers during a game at American Airlines Arena on January 23, 2014 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

History forever intrigues Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

He has written about history through a series of books that centers on everything ranging from sports to civil rights. Abdul-Jabbar has set history by remaining the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, perfecting the unstoppable skyhook and becoming the lone NBA player to compile both six NBA championships and six MVPS through a 20-year span with the Milwaukee Bucks and Lakers. He has also defended history, taking offense to LeBron James’ recent claim that he will appear on the so-called “Mt. Rushmore” of NBA greats along with Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. James also credited Oscar Robertson on that path, but he said that name last before adding he would replace one of those players once his career ends.

That prompted Abdul-Jabbar to knock King James off of his throne and remove his crown.

“LeBron James was talking about how he’s the best ever,” Abdul-Jabbar said in a wide-ranging interview with this newspaper. “He never saw Wilt Chamberlain play. If he had, he wouldn’t say that. Whenever he averages 55 points a game, then I might want to listen to what he has to say. I’m not trying to put LeBron down. He’s awesome. He’s the best player in this era at this point. But he didn’t see Bill Russell play. When his team wins eight consecutive NBA championships, maybe I’ll compare him to Bill Russell. Until then, he has to prove a few things. I don’t want to put LeBron down. He’s awesome and great for the game and a class guy. But there’s a lot more to that.”
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