In 1969, Kareem Abdul Jabbar had just completed his final season at UCLA. He had, without a doubt, cemented himself as the greatest college player of all time, leading UCLA to 3 NCAA championships and an 88-2 record during his time there. He had been so dominant that the NCAA had banned the use of the dunk, since Kareem had used the move to such success.
After turning down 1 000 000 $ from the Harlem Globetrotters, Kareem declared for the draft. Milwaukee won a coin-toss against Phoenix for the first pick, and using it on Kareem was a no-brainer. But the NBA had competition in these days. The New York Nets of the ABA had the first pick of their league and also used it on Kareem.
The Nets believed they had it in the bag. Kareem was a native New Yorker, and there was no conceivable way anyone would choose Milwaukee over New York. Kareem surprised the teams by allowing them both to make one bid each for his services. The Nets, still cocky, underbid, and lost to the Bucks' 1.4 million offer. The Nets realized their mistake and immediately offered a guaranteed 3.25 million dollars, which Kareem turned them down, staying true to his word.
Kareem won 3 MVPâ€™s in Milwaukee, led the team to two NBA Finals and their first and only championship. But in 1975 he had tired of Milwaukee. He insisted there was nothing wrong with the city, but that it simply did not satisfy his cultural needs. He asked for a trade, to either Los Angeles or New York.
By the time Kareem was available, the Nets already had Dr. J at the top of their payroll and no assets to trade for Kareemâ€¦