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Abdul-Jabbar eyes UCLA job

The SportsXchange

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wants to restore a winning culture to his alma mater.

The NBA Hall-of-Famer told the Los Angeles Times Wednesday that he'd like to be considered for the UCLA men's basketball job, and replace recently fired Ben Howland.

"Like all Bruin supporters, the recent trend at our school hasn't made me happy," Abdul-Jabbar told the newspaper. "The players don't seem to be learning how to play, and haven't been graduating. We can do better."

Abdul-Jabbar, who will turn 66 next month, was the star center for legendary coach John Wooden in 1967-69, when the Bruins went 88-2 and won three NCAA titles. In the NBA, he played on six NBA Championship teams and was a six-time NBA MVP, while becoming the league's all-time leading scorer.

Abdul-Jabbar said he contacted UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero and "hopefully, I can get a chance to make my case."

Despite having no Division I coaching experience, Abdul-Jabbar coached the U.S. Basketball League's Oklahoma Storm to the title in 2002.

"That didn't get on many people's radar," he told the Times, "but it gave me a great idea of what to do in most situations."

In response to inquiries regarding its coaching search, UCLA said, "We will not comment on the process, the candidates or provide status updates."

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