Abdul-Jabbar was on the late-night show to promote his new charity, “The Skyhook Foundation.” Fallon and the six-time champion discussed a host of topics such as the 2022 NBA Finals, the one and only 3-point shot of his career and his namesake Social Justice Champion award, among other things.
In the game segment “Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Settles It,” Fallon asked him rapid-fire questions. One of them was a harmless, “What’s your favorite hot dog topping?” question and the basketball legend gave a hilarious answer, saying:
“The tears of the 1985 Celtics when they lost to the Lakers in the Finals.”
The crowd erupted into laughter as the New York native taunted the Boston Celtics after they had just lost another NBA Finals. Fallon stood up and started air-guitaring after the spectacular answer. He said he was expecting “mustard” as the reply.
The Celtics defeated the Lakers in the 1984 NBA Finals in a grueling Game 7 victory on their home floor. The Lakers then bounced back in 1985, winning the series 4-2 and Abdul-Jabbar was the Finals MVP at age 38. The victory snapped Boston’s streak of winning eight finals against them, giving Los Angeles its first win over its rivals.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar talks about Steph Curry and the only 3-point shot of his career
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer with 38,387 career points, but only one bucket among the thousands is a 3-pointer. He lauded himself for the accomplishment that he didn’t need the most important shot in today’s game to tally a total that no other player has been able to reach.
The NBA Finals ended a few days ago, and Jimmy Fallon marveled at Steph Curry‘s shooting prowess. Fallon said Curry is “unbelievable,” and he hasn’t “seen anything like that.” Fallon asked Abdul-Jabbar if there were any shooters like Curry during his era, and he responded by saying:
“Not like that. But there were good 3-point shooters, we thought, at that time.”
Abdul-Jabbar talked about his one and only 3-point shot and mentioned why he never attempted them during his playing days. The 3-point shot was added in 1979, before his 11th season. He said:
“I am the all-time leading scorer in the NBA, and I only made one 3-point shot. … The coach says, ‘Look, you shoot the ball from in here. If you come out here and shoot, you can come sit down with me.'”
“1986. And it was an accident. You know, I ran out to the corner to get a rebound, and I was out there all alone. They didn’t want to come guard me. I turned around and made the 3-pointer.”
Essentially, he said his coach wouldn’t allow him to attempt that shot because it wasn’t a high-percentage look. Abdul-Jabbar excelled in the paint with his famous sky hook, and it wouldn’t be wise to shoot 3-pointers. Thus, he said that his coaches would bench him if he attempted a shot beyond the arc.
Abdul-Jabbar hilariously added that if he keeps up his pace, he will catch Steph Curry in 3-pointers made in 77 years. He continued:
“2,099. And I’m gonna be catching Steph Curry.”
Q. Which move would you rather have?
Steph Curry’s three-point shot
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s skyhook