Abdul-Jabbar to coach Oklahoma Storm

Friday, January 25th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ENID, Okla. (AP) _ Former NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will coach Oklahoma's semi-pro basketball team this spring, the owner says.

Abdul-Jabbar signed a contract with the Oklahoma Storm of the U.S. Basketball League, owner James Sears Bryant said Thursday. The Enid-based team's 30-game season begins in April.

Bryant would not disclose Abdul-Jabbar's salary, but said it will be among the highest in the USBL.

``Kareem wants to run a franchise,'' Bryant said. ``That's why they call this the league of opportunity. It's really not a money deal for him. It's an opportunity.''

Abdul-Jabbar most recently worked with the Los Angeles Clippers. The Storm will be the first team in which Abdul-Jabbar, 54, is the head coach.

Ticket sales and corporate sponsorships could be helped with the addition of Abdul-Jabbar. Bryant said he is negotiating to have the team's games broadcast on a statewide radio station.

``I've been to one Storm game,'' Oklahoma Bible Academy football coach Paul Dunbar said. ``Will I go now? To see Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? Are you kidding? Of course I'll go.''

The 7-foot-2 center holds nine NBA career records, including most points, minutes, field goals made, field goals attempted and blocked shots.

Abdul-Jabbar, with his famous skyhook shot, was a six-time Most Valuable Player and a 10-time member of the All-NBA team.

He played in 18 NBA All-Star Games and won six NBA titles with the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers.

After retiring from the game, Abdul-Jabbar was elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Bryant said he is not sure if Abdul-Jabbar will live in Enid or Oklahoma City during the three-month season.

``If he moves to Enid,'' Bryant said, ``we'll have to find him a king-sized bed.''