Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Andrew Bynum Gets Bored Working to Be Great

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistDecember 29, 2013

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 26:  Andrew Bynum #21 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on during the game against the Atlanta Hawks at Quicken Loans Arena on December 26, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

All the natural talent and sheer size any player could ask for can only take you so far. Andrew Bynum is living proof that you have to work hard, too.

Legendary Los Angeles Lakers center and one-time Bynum mentor Kareem Abdul-Jabbar took to Facebook Sunday morning to share his thoughts on the big man's recent suspension:

I believe Andrew has always had the potential to help a team when he puts his heart into it. He just doesn't seem to be consistent with his commitment to the game. That can lead to a lot of frustration for any team that has signed him.

When I worked with Andrew I found him to be bright & hardworking but I think he got bored with the repetitive nature of working on basketball fundamentals day in and day out... but they are the keys to long term success. 

In my opinion Andrew is the type of person who walks to the beat of "a different drummer." So we won't know the facts until Andrew decides to tell us what actually is the issue and shares his thoughts. 

It's scary to think of what Bynum could have become had he embraced "the repetitive nature of working on basketball fundamentals day in and day out."

From 2007-08 through 2011-12, he averaged 14.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per game for the Lakers. He capped that stretch in 2011-12 with averages of 18.7 and 11.8, respectively. During that season, some began to wonder if he was the best center in the NBA.

Another LA legend said as much in January 2012:

How far we've come in two years. Since that declaration from Shaquille O'Neal, Bynum missed an entire season with the Philadelphia 76ers due to ongoing knee problems and has now been suspended from the Cleveland Cavaliers for "conduct detrimental to the team," via NBA.com.

Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding (who covered Bynum while writing for the Orange County Register) provided background on the suspension Sunday, writing, "What he wants from basketball is no longer available to him." Ding also talked about the efforts of Phil Jackson to get Bynum to work. I'm sure the example of Kobe Bryant didn't hurt either.

But it doesn't look like there's much intrinsic motivation for Bynum, as he's struggled to find any stability since leaving the team that drafted him.

The Lakers could not have known for sure that they were taking a player who got bored with the process. As for the 76ers and Cavaliers, well, they had fair warning. 


For 140-character pearls of wisdom from Bleacher Report's Andy Bailey, follow him on Twitter: @AndrewDBailey.