Articles & Notes — June 23, 2014 at 9:27 pm

Abdul-Jabbar: Working out with Bruce Lee made me want to work harder

bruce-lee-kareem-abdul-jabbar-game-of-death-7Legendary NBA player, Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has recently recalled his work and relationship with Bruce Lee, with whom he starred in the 1972 cult martial arts film “Game of Death”.

Abdul-Jabbar was in particular asked by a fan on LosAngelesRegister, regarding his relationship with Lee and how the two met and started working together.

“Bruce and I were good friends from my days at UCLA. I’d already been studying aikido in New York and wanted to continue my martial arts studies while in L.A., so someone recommended I check out Bruce’s studio,” Abdul-Jabbar recalled.

NBA great admitted that at first he was “reluctant” because he was already studying a Japanese style, “and Bruce was Chinese”.

“But it turned out that his particular style, which he called Jeet Kune Do, cared less about traditional styles than it did about the results,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “Bruce created a jambalaya of martial arts, adding and discarding moves that were less effective.

“His fighting philosophy was to move less, but when you did, to strike explosively and efficiently. Turned out that was similar to what John Wooden was teaching us on the court about being prepared and committed. The skyhook is the embodiment of an efficient shot that requires minimal movement but sudden speed,” legendary NBA center explained.

bruce-lee-kareem-abdul-jabbar-game-of-death-6Abdul-Jabbar added that Bruce Lee was a personal inspiration to him.

“His focus and athleticism, which you can clearly see in his films, was unparalleled,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “Working out with him made me want to work harder.”

He added that the lessons Bruce Lee taught about efficient movement for maximum results is a pretty good philosophy with most things in life.

“Game of Death” was an incomplete 1972 Hong Kong martial arts film directed, written, produced by and starring Bruce Lee, in his final film attempt. Lee died during the making of the film of cerebral edema.

During filming, Lee received an offer to star in Enter the Dragon, the first kung fu film to be produced by a Hollywood studio (Warner Bros.), and with a budget unprecedented for the genre ($850,000).

After Lee’s death, Enter the Dragon director Robert Clouse was enlisted to direct additional scenes featuring two stand-ins which, when pieced together with the original footage as well as other footage from earlier in Lee’s career, would form a new film (entitled simply Game of Death) which was released in 1978, five years after his death, by Golden Harvest.




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