There have been some great rivalries between NBA big men. Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell had a long-running rivalry. Later, Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, his one-time protege, had one too.
One of the better ones, though it didn’t last long, was between Jabbar and Bill Walton.
Both played for John Wooden at UCLA, Jabbar finishing a few years before Walton.
Jabbar had a long, brilliant career but Walton’s was as defined by injuries as his remarkable talent.
For a brief time in the mid ‘70’s, Jabbar and Walton put on some spectacular games. Jabbar alluded to this when he played pilot Roger Murdock and said the kid’s dad didn’t have to drag Walton up and down the court.
On this particular play in 1977, Walton got the best of Jabbar: Maurice Lucas saved the ball and got it back to Walton at about the line. He faked Kareem out of the lane and took it in, dunking over his fellow UCLA legend.
Within a play or two, Kareem probably got it back on a skyhook. They didn’t reach the peak together for long, but when they were there, they played in rare air.