Kareem

Note: The woman pictured above is Denise Milani. I didn't merely put this picture up to show off her...huge tracts of land. I was, for the most part, making the point that Kareem does pose for the occasional picture. He simply has, uhm, standards.

Back in the summer of 2000, I had the misfortune of sharing a flight out of Chicago with Rick "The Boston Strangler" Pitino. I should note, for historical purposes, that this occurred only a few months after his infamous (and exceedingly bitter) "Larry Bird is not walking through that door" speech. As a long-time Celtics fan, his very existence was (and, in many ways, still is) anathema to me. With Boston's 35-47 season fresh on my mind, my basketball mood was grim. (That mood was not helped by the fact that my "other" team, the Pacers, had just lost to my most hated team, the Lakers, in the NBA Finals.)

Pitino, naturally, was in first class. I, however, was not. Thus I got the chance to walk directly past him on my way to the dreaded back of the plane (which is almost invariably filled with seat-busting pork monsters and angry, screaming babies). I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit that I was unable to prevent myself from blasting him with a "Thanks for destroying the Celtics, Rick."

In retrospect, I wish I hasn't done that. Not because I was wrong or anything; Pitino most certainly ruined the Celtics during his tenure as President and Coach of the team. But it's unspeakably rude and unnecessary to harrass famous people during their private lives. I wouldn't want, for instance, to have somebody who follows this site to accost me on the street and tell me off for saying Kobe Bryant is a douchebag. I much prefer the anti-me statements to be limited to comments on this site and the occasional letter bomb.

Anyway, I'm way off the point here. I got to thinking about the Pitino story after a regular reader, bobgarz, sent me the following email:

So on the 21st of August, I was on a flight from Hong Kong to L.A., L.A. to Boston. On my second flight (and thankfully not wearing my Beat LA t-shirt) who do I see but the legendary Kareem Abdul Jabbar!

Wait a minute...

IN ECONOMY?!

Ok, so as if seeing a 7 -footer in a tiny airline seat wasn't awkward enough, Kareem was staring people down and ignoring cheers from the L.A. crowd telling him what a legend he is. Further, as he was sitting at the first seat in economy and next to the bathroom, the stewardess announces that that bathroom has to be "shut down." Kareem sure doesn't want his company today.

Upon arrival, at the baggage claim I watch as Kareem rejects photography with myself, two very pretty LA-ites and a poor Asian kid and his girlfriend. But whatever, seeing him in person was cool enough. I grab my baggage and head to the taxi stand. Kareem is walking in front of me. But he doesn't go to the Hummer, doesn't go to the limo, doesn't even go to the taxi stand, but instead walks onto the Budget Bus.

Now I'm sure there's a logical explanation, but watching a generally nice Hall of Famer look depressed in a dirty (very dirty) blue NBA track suit sitting on economy and a budget bus has to make me wonder.

Even my cab driver went "Was that Kareem? Why the hell is he on a bus?"

Must be bad times indeed for Kareem.
An odd story, to be sure, but maybe not as strange as it seems. Many people don't realize this, but Kareem has had his fair share of crippling financial problems. In 1980, he lost "large sums of money" due to a particularly nasty divorce and "his own and his women friends' extravagances." In 1983, his Bel Air mansion burned to the ground, taking much of the $13 million in salary he had earned during his career with it. Then, in the mid-80s, Kareem's business manager, Tom Collins, abused his power of attorney to take out some $9 million in loans in Kareem's name. He had also used Kareem's money to pay other clients and lost many more millions of Kareem's cash "in a web of investments so complex and damaging that a team of Bushkin lawyers had spent months trying to extricate [Kareem]." Kareem's lawyers eventually sued Collins (among others) to recover damages which they said totaled $59 million. Ouch.

Here's just one example of Collins' chicanery:

"In 1984 and '85 Collins put together several limited partnerships involving his clients. One investment, according to court documents, was in a product called Heavyrope, a weighted jump rope that was manufactured by a small firm in Michigan. Collins put up $230,000 of Abdul-Jabbar's money, plus $145,000 of [Ralph] Sampson's, $120,000 of [Alex] English's and $60,000 of [Terry] Cummings', and led Abdul-Jabbar to believe that he would own an interest in the manufacture of Heavyrope and its distribution rights. One night in the summer of '85 he had dinner with Charlie Scott, the former NBA guard who was also a Collins client and another Heavyrope partner. Scott had gone with Collins to meet the manufacturers in Michigan and now, according to Abdul-Jabbar, Scott told him, 'We don't own the patent. We don't own anything. We have a very weak license.'"
And, believe it or not, Alex English sued Kareem for $150,000 because of the whole mess. That's how bad it got. Now, at that time, Kareem's Bushkin lawyer Leonard Armato said: "The idea that Kareem is broke and desperate for money is a fiction." Still...those kinds of losses can't be easy to recover from.

It's not like Kareem has been sitting on his hands since all that happened. He's worked as an assistant for the Los Angeles Clippers and the Seattle SuperSonics, and most recently for the Lakers, as a special assistant to Phil Jackson (to work with Andrew Bynum). He also spent time blogging for the Los Angeles Times, and he has authored several books. So we know, at the very least, that he's been employed. It's possible that he doesn't make much, and it's also possible that he simply lives a frugal lifestyle because of the difficult lessons he learned. Whatever the case, it is, nonetheless, obvious he isn't rolling around in Kobe Bryant money. Or even, it would seem, Josh Childress money.

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27 Comments:
Blogger Cortez said...
A friend of mine once made a comment that I never forgot.

He was responding to someone who was wondering how athletes lose all of their money so often. His comment was...

"...you have to remember these sports stars are the same dumb fucks you deal with everyday. They just happen to be able to run fast or toss a ball accurately. That doesn't make them any smarter with day to day life."

Anonymous Sun Devil said...
Speaking of the Celtics, congrats on picking up Darius Miles. He's a guy I would probably say something to if I saw him on a plane. I hope he's not the first player to come back from a career-ending injury.

Anonymous Batman said...
To quote David Chappelle in his stand-up Killing Me Softly: "DAMN LOOK AT THEM TITTIES!"

Anonymous Anonymous said...
LOOK AT THAT RACK

umm, sorry

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
They are bigger than her head.

Literally.

We may as well just make this comments thread a contest for the best quick-wit one liner regarding the picture.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
BOMBS AWAY!!!!!

Anonymous AK Dave said...
OK, OK, I know most of us are only looking at ONE THING on this post- but take a minute and have a look at Kareem's shirt.

I mean, Kareem is the man and all, but dude- that shirt looks like a denim star trek uniform. Nice Canadian tuxedo!

Anonymous Big Aaron said...
A lot of these baulchy, big-ego'd kids who bolt from college at the first opportunity should look at what's happened to Kareem at various points such as those detailed in the blog post. Keep your money, don't spunk it away on rims and chains.

It's not even like people can use the "but they come from the ghetto" argument. High School stars and college players instantly move into a different circle of people once they become even slightly recognised. If that doesn't rub off on them and teach them anything, then maybe they deserve to go broke?

I don't know.

Anonymous Sun Devil said...
Kareem you motorboatin' son of a...


On second glance I have to ask: Is Kareem wearing denim armor?

Anonymous Czernobog said...
Cortez, you have to remember that these guys can afford accountants and lawyers, just because mentally they're regular people doesn't mean they're doomed to lose money.

I daresay anyone could fall for a scammer like Collins, it's just that most people don't have the money to draw his interest.

And back to the topic at hand - That's Denise Milani, and supposedly those puppies are natural.

Blogger Trev said...
Who is that chick and what the hell is Kareem wearing? Did he raid Jay Leno's closet?

Anonymous Shrugz said...
it's just who they can trust
I mean you NEVER allow anyone to have power of attonery over you
NEVER NEVER NEVER

the only thing you should allow is for someone to move your money around (ie. stocks only)
make sure they can't invest in shady private companies or anything

and have an escape clause for yourself.

on another note: They're fake.
LOL

Blogger eljpeman said...
DAMN! Literally, those are knockers!

Well, that made my morning!

Anonymous Sun Devil said...
It's important to note that Kareem is keeping it casual by wearing that one button down. It really sets the style of the outfit.

Blogger m. Alana said...
First off: I happened to have images turned off on my browser, but I still knew the picture from the comments. Uh, nice choice?

On the one hand, this kind of bummed me out, because Kareem's one of my favorite athletes. A good part of that's due to his personality (the part that's not due to the kick-ass glasses), and I'm sure being upper-middle-class really grates on him. On the other hand...would that I could be as unfortunate as Kareem Abdul-Fuckin'-Jabbar, you know?

In other news, the possibility at the end of my last email to you has come to pass. Holy shit, dude. It's ridiculous.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
i would leave a relevant comment but i am too distracted by dem porn tittays.

Anonymous Baguete said...
What about a MTV Cribs with Kareen?
"Rental TV: USS 200/week"
"Sick glasses: USS 19.99"
"Blue shirts: 3 for USS 32.99"

Or maybe that "Extreme Makeover" show, where they rebuild the entire house for the people in need.
They could build a "Showtime" room for Kareen, with lots of Magic and Riley´s posters.
A "Sky Hook" kitchen with a 7ft refrigerator for the sake of acessibility.
And, of course, a "NBA Legends" bathroom where he can whack off remembering the good times with these kind of pics.

Where´s "NBA Cares" when people needs it the most?

Blogger Cortez said...
"Cortez, you have to remember that these guys can afford accountants and lawyers, just because mentally they're regular people doesn't mean they're doomed to lose money."

You have to remember, if you are the only one in the room that doesn't know what's happening with your money...

...you're probably going to lose it.

Now that I think about it...Jabbar had plenty of "accountants & lawyers".

A lot of good it did him.

Anonymous Jon said...
Well maybe it wasn't Kareem anyway. It mght have been Roger Murdock.

Blogger Cortez said...
"...just because mentally they're regular people doesn't mean they're doomed to lose money."

I just reread my original comment.

You said, albeit unwittingly, the EXACT same thing I said.

You people are silly...just like these dumb ass athletes that think they can hand over control of millions of dollars to someone for them to "invest" without any personal knowledge of the business or operations.

Anonymous Czernobog said...
Cortez, for every athlete like Kareem, how many other athletes, movie stars, and people who landed start-up windfalls are there who don't know much about finances and still keep their money? That's right, a lot.

You're not likely to know more about finances then your accountant, are you? And no, they don't "hand over control," they accept advice, as you or I would be forced to if we had any money to speak of.

Oh, and Shrugz, according to askmen.com they're real. Haven't handled them myself, though, so I can't be certain.

Anonymous Wormboy said...
I'm skeptical. I don't think you get boobs that size with that little body fat elsewhere. Physiology doesn't work that way.

Anonymous Baguete said...
He can always play Dhalsin in the next Street Fighter movie...

Blogger Cortez said...
"Cortez, for every athlete like Kareem, how many other athletes, movie stars, and people who landed start-up windfalls are there who don't know much about finances and still keep their money?"

I don't know. I'm only privy to what I hear through the media and my common sense about expenses, taxes, and earning potential after a sports career is over.

"That's right, a lot."

Yeah, how did you determine that? Pouring over the assets and debts of hundreds of athletes?

Of course you didn't.

How do you keep overlooking that fact that I never said they were more likely to lose their money.

"You're not likely to know more about finances then your accountant, are you?"

I know just as much about the basics of accounting as my accountant...I'm educated!

"And no, they don't "hand over control,""

Sure they do.

"they accept advice,"

then they run off and handle the details themselves?

Right, of course not.

"as you or I would be forced to if we had any money to speak of."

I have a few dollars...I'm cool.

"...you have to remember these sports stars are the same dumb fucks you deal with everyday. They just happen to be able to run fast or toss a ball accurately. That doesn't make them any smarter with day to day life."

You see that...for the second time...I never said they were more likely to lose ANYTHING. Just as likely.

"I'm skeptical. I don't think you get boobs that size with that little body fat elsewhere."

Real or fake. I'd hit it!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Seriously though, noone knows her name?

Basketbawful, how you gonna post a pic up like that and not let us know who the girl is.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
anonymous -- Somebody mentioned this above, but her name is Denise Milani. Do a Google image search for her. You, er, won't be disappointed.

Anonymous Shrugz said...
They're REAL wtf? LOL gebus
she gonna have backproblems real soon if she doesn't have any yet

I'm a finance/accounting major and I can tell you we don't know jack about investment advising

Sure we can analyze different companies and see what others don't but doesn't mean we know anything about advising people about investments

you want someone that specializes in investment advising like the people at a bank or something.
Wealth managers, etc etc

anyways that's my advise to people who get a windfall of money
just get the accountant to advise you on structuring your income to pay lower taxes (ie. Trusts)

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