Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Criticizes Riley for Snubbing George Gervin in 1983 All-Star Game

An overlooked All-Star moment takes center stage.

by Nouman Rasool
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Criticizes Riley for Snubbing George Gervin in 1983 All-Star Game
© Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images

In a revealing episode of his podcast, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar recounted a memorable incident from the 1983 All-Star Game, shedding light on a moment that stirred controversy within the basketball community. Abdul-Jabbar criticized then Los Angeles Lakers coach Pat Riley for his treatment of George Gervin, known affectionately as the 'IceMan', during the star-studded event.

Reflecting on the game, Abdul-Jabbar shared his dismay at Riley's decision to bench George Gervin for the majority of the match, only allowing him onto the court with less than three minutes remaining. "It was disheartening to see a player of George's caliber being sidelined in such a manner.

With just about two minutes left, Riley finally let him play, but by then, the damage was done," Abdul-Jabbar lamented.

George Gervin's Snubbed Brilliance

George Gervin, despite his limited time on the floor, managed to score 9 points in 14 minutes, demonstrating his efficiency and skill.

However, the sense of disrespect lingered, especially as Gervin received the least amount of playing time among his teammates. This snub came despite his team, the East All-Stars, securing a 9-point victory. Fuelled by the All-Star Game incident, George Gervin sought redemption against Riley's Lakers in the first matchup following the break.

In a stunning display of talent and determination, the four-time scoring champion poured 40 points on the Lakers, shooting an impressive 66.7% from the field. Gervin's performance was a clear message to Riley and the basketball world, highlighting his exceptional abilities and competitive spirit.

Abdul-Jabbar noted the palpable tension during that game, acknowledging that George Gervin's explosive response was a direct consequence of Riley's earlier oversight. "George's performance against us was a stark reminder of his greatness.

It seemed to serve as a wake-up call for Riley, but unfortunately, the realization came a bit too late," Abdul-Jabbar concluded, underscoring a moment that remains a poignant reminder of respect and recognition in the realm of professional sports.