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You Tube Gold: Kareem vs. Bruce Lee

As Skyhook meets the one-inch punch

On the set of ‘Game of Death’
American actor Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Chinese American martial artist and actor Bruce Lee on the set of Game of Death, written and directed by Robert Clouse.
Photo by Concord Productions Inc./Golden Harvest Company/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is rightly known as one of the finest basketball players of all time. His hook shot was a thing of beauty.

However, he also has a lesser known career as an actor.

Although he typically plays himself, Kareem also has had some fictional roles. He famously portrayed co-pilot Roger Murdock in Airplane for instance, but his most interesting role may have been in a martial arts movie.

In 1974, Kareem played Hakim in the Game Of Death where he fought the late Bruce Lee.

In real life, the two were good friends but their movie characters clearly didn’t care for each other and fought a good kung fu (we’re guessing) fight.

At first Lee seems intimidated by his much taller opponent - Kareem was seventeen inches or so taller - but gradually he overcame him.

It’s just oddly fascinating to watch these very different men go at it.