How Kareem’s Sky Hook was born


Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr. – name at birth – usually known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar entered the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1966.

The recruitment strategy used by one of the greatest Basketball coaches ever – Sir John Wooden – was transparent, educational-oriented and yet unparalleled to persuade the young phenomenon and his mother to pick the former college mentioned.

Hence, Alcindor Junior entered the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) with an impressive resumé and an unique nickname to prove it – “The tower from power”.

As a 2.18m eighteen year old, the then upcoming freshman led the high school Power Memorial Academy team to three straight New York City Catholic championships. Kareem ended his previous basketball phase with a 71-game winning streak, and a 79–2 overall record.

Nonetheless, the stakes for the youngster were high (literally).

Thus, a crucial decision made by NCAA would end up changing the Basketball world. A widely known and enthusiastic moment in the latter sport – dunk – was banned from 1966 to 1967. It’s often heard that the decision was credited to Alcindor’s dominance.

Consequently, the no-dunking rule is occasionally referred to as the “Lew Alcindor rule.”

With this updated rule, both coach John Wooden and Kareem needed to adapt and discover an innovative way to make a 2.18m start to score.

Within that time magic began. Kareem’s sky hook was born.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar often turned perpendicular to the basket, softly throwed the ball with a sweeping motion of his arm in an upward arc with a follow-through which ended over his head.

Arguably the most difficult shot to contest. Also, an arduous skill to “unlock”.

As a matter of fact, Kareem became the NBA’s all-time scoring leader with a sky hook shot against the Utah Jazz from a Magic Johnson’s pass.

The lesson?

“Constraint inspires creativity” – Biz Stone (Twitter’s Co-Founder)

Its easy to make excuses. Instead, we shall find new ways to solve a tricky issue.