A History of Athlete Name Changes

Lew Alcindor to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Sport: Basketball
Year: 1971

Lew Alcindor changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar the day after the Bucks won the NBA championship in 1971. The Muslim name means "generous servant of the mighty one." When asked about the change he stated that Alcindor was the name of a French planter who brought his family to America as slaves. "When I was a kid, no one would believe anything positive that you could say about black people. And that's a terrible burden on black people, because they don't have an accurate idea of their history, which has been either suppressed or distorted."

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