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what could have been

Imagine If Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Had Gone to St. John’s

The News' Mitch Lawrence spoke with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar this week, and the Hall of Famer told him that he'd strongly considered attending St. John's — back when he was Lew Alcindor and they were the Redmen — until legendary coach Joe Lapchick was forced to retire. (The school had a mandatory retirement age of 65.) Abdul-Jabbar explains that Lapchick was neighbors with his Power Memorial coach, Jack Donohue, and that "If Joe Lapchick was still the coach when I left high school, it would have been a much tougher decision for me." The sin of it all: Abdul-Jabbar explains that St. John's dropped out of the running and UCLA won out after Lapchick retired because he didn't really know Lapchick's replacement — a fellow named Lou Carnesecca, who'd go on to have a pretty okay career himself. [NYDN]

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Photo: Tony Tomsic/WireImage