Over and Back: Was Kareem vs. Walton the NBA’s great lost rivalry?

Could the rivalry between Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton have saved the NBA from a late 1970s malaise had Walton remained healthy? We discuss what was and what could have been in the latest episode of Over and Back’s Basketball Mysteries of the 1970s.

We consider the parallels between Abdul-Jabbar and Walton with Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell, look at the head-to-head matchups between Walton and Abdul-Jabbar from 1975 through 1978 (thanks to this fabulous research at InsideHoops.com) as well as the Blazers’ sweep of the Lakers in 1977, punctuated by a Walton poster dunk over Abdul-Jabbar that was seen by many as the passing of the torch of the greatest big man in the NBA, and wonder how a healthy Walton and the Blazers could have challenged the Lakers in the early 1980s.

We also look at how each player produced during that time and why the numbers seem to give Abdul-Jabbar such an advantage. Then we discuss Abdul-Jabbar’s late 1970s seasons with the Lakers in part of a previously recorded episode.

Music:

Aurea Carmina Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) & Stringed Disco Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

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