Los Angeles Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who makes his...


HOUSTON -- Los Angeles Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who makes his final regular-season appearance in Houston on Sunday, promised Saturday he won't make any boxer-like comebacks once he retires at the end of this season.

'I won't do like Sugar Ray (boxer Sugar Ray Leonard) or anyone else like that,' Abdul-Jabbar said. 'You don't have to worry about me coming back. I've seen too many NBA games.'


The Lakers play Houston on Sunday in Abdul-Jabbar's last regular-season visit to the Summit. The Rockets, as have other NBA teams, will present a gift to the veteran center prior to Sunday's game.

'Everybody tells me in eight or nine months I'll long for the atmosphere (of basketball),' he said. 'My plans are to get very far away for a while and take a month or two off.'

Abdul-Jabbar said he is keeping a diary this season and may write a book of observations on basketball. He earlier wrote an autobiography titled 'Giant Steps.'

'I think (NBA Commissioner) David Stern has done a wonderful job. He understood from Day 1 how to market the game,' Abdul-Jabbar said. 'People started to see great athletes like Julius Erving and Michael Jordan do their thing. The game has been presented in a very positive way.'


However, he said changes are needed, primarily shortening the length of the regular season.

'The only thing they use to justify the length with is that everybody has to do it,' Abdul-Jabbar said. 'Ten or 15 games would make it a lot easier on everybody. Last year, the season was over the first day of summer. That was ridiculous.'

Abdul-Jabbar said his successor as the NBA's top center is Houston's Akeem Olajuwon.

'He's the 'Oba' of Houston now. 'Oba' is a Nigrerian term which means the most respected person in the community,' Abdul-Jabbar said. 'Rather than him being Americanized, I feel he's Africanized Houston.

'He's been quite a success story. As far as athletics goes at his position, he's on a par with Michael Jordan,' Abdul-Jabbar added.

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