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Today in Performance Sneaker History: Abdul-Jabbar is First NBA Player to Score 38,000

Let’s flash back twenty-four years to 1989: George H. W. Bush was inaugurated as the 41st US president, the Cold War would last another three years, and in Switzerland, a man named Tim Berners Lee invented something known as the World Wide Web.

The world of professional basketball was in the midst of a transition period as well. Throughout the ’80s, the Los Angeles Lakers were the most dominant team in the league, taking home eight championship trophies over the decade. But their dominant center, the legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, would retire towards the end of the ’89 season, with Magic Johnson following soon after.

Before hanging up his sneakers for good, Abdul-Jabbar became the first NBA player to score 38,000 points during the Lakers’ February 5 win over Dallas. He would close out his career with a total of 38,387 points, scoring nearly 2000 more points than the next-highest career scorer of all time, which was Karl Malone with 36,928.

Throughout his historic career, Kareem wore mostly adidas branded sneakers. However, towards the close of his career, he left adidas for upstart brand L.A. Gear, wearing a low-cut version of the B424 model. This sneaker used L.A. Gear’s patented “Airstream” cushioning setup and a pair of Air Jordan 4-like lock down wings. Although the exact model has yet to be re-released, it’s worth noting that a few years back, L.A. Gear attempted to revitalize the brand with classic models. With the recent explosion in popularity of retro basketball styles, it wouldn’t be much of a shocker to see these reappear.

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