Yes, Kareem is serious, and don't call him bitter about Milwaukee
MAR 04, 2014 12:13a ET
All these years later, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar apparently has softened on Milwaukee.
Exhibit A, his commercial for Wisconsin tourism, featuring him and actor Robert Hays, reprising their "Airplane" characters and recycling several of the movie's jokes:
Exhibit B, Abdul-Jabbar saying he would take a role with the Bucks.
"If I get a call, I will definitely offer my services," Abdul-Jabbar said, as reported by The Associated Press. "There's nothing on the table right now. A couple of people have asked me, and if I had the chance to be part of this franchise again, I would take it."
That's a far cry from how he departed Milwaukee. Abdul-Jabbar forced a trade — though he kept quiet about his demand — and the Bucks sent him to the Los Angeles Lakers in June 1975. Abdul-Jabbar played six seasons with the Bucks, taking them to the NBA Finals twice and winning one league title.
How much affection did he have for Milwaukee? Here's how he described to Sports Illustrated his NBA home for the first six years of his career:
"Live in Milwaukee? No, I guess you could say I exist in Milwaukee. I am a soldier hired for service and I will perform that service well. Basketball has given me a good life, but this town has nothing to do with my roots. There's no common ground."
But the years pass and people mellow. Next thing you know, you're playing Roger Murdock again, only this time, the automatic pilot is wearing a cheesehead.