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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar lobbies to be considered for the vacant UCLA job

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Getty Images)

If UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero grows weary of trying to lure the likes of Billy Donovan or Brad Stevens to Westwood, there's a coach closer to home who is definitely interested in replacing Ben Howland.

Unfortunately for Guerrero, that coach has about as good a chance of being UCLA's next coach as Bill Walton has of being a dinner guest at Howland's home.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, one of the greatest players in UCLA history, has spent the past few days telling anyone who will listen that he wants to be the next coach at his alma mater. He first said it during an appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel Show on Tuesday night, he elaborated to the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday and he drilled home the point on a radio interview Thursday morning.

"I've been lobbying for the job and I want the job," Abdul-Jabbar told Fox Sports Radio's Jay Mohr. "Hopefully I'll find out in short order what's going on there."

What's going on, of course, is that Abdul-Jabbar is probably not a realistic candidate for the job despite his ultra-successful playing career at UCLA and in the NBA.

[Related: Shaka Smart remains loyal to VCU, leaving UCLA, Minnesota jobs open]

His head coaching experience consists of leading the Oklahoma Storm to the USBL title in 2002. He has never coached at the college level, nor does he have any experience or contacts as a recruiter. And while he has mellowed some in recent years, he can still sometimes come off as prickly and aloof, not the ideal combination for a coach who has to charm top prospects and Los Angeles-area fans.

This isn't the first time Abdul-Jabbar has lobbied for a coaching position. He sought more responsibility while working with Andrew Bynum as a special assistant to the Lakers and recently asked to be considered for the Milwaukee Bucks head coaching position.

Perhaps, Abdul-Jabbar will someday find an NBA team that has use for his extensive knowledge of the game. But a college head coaching job as coveted and pressure-packed as UCLA's? That's probably not the right fit.

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