Former Los Angeles Lakers star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a six-time NBA MVP and the leading career scorer in league history, has been hired by the team as a special assistant coach.
The 58-year-old Abdul-Jabbar played in the NBA for 20 seasons — six with the Milwaukee Bucks and 14 with the Lakers. He scored 38,387 points before retiring in 1989.
"We are pleased to welcome Kareem back to the organization," general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement Friday. "Kareem was one of the best centers to ever play the game . . . and we look forward to having Kareem help our big men develop these skills and tutor them on what it takes to be a successful player in this league."
The Lakers picked 17-year-old high school center Andrew Bynum with the 10th overall pick in the NBA draft two months ago.
Abdul-Jabbar, who led the John Wooden-coached UCLA Bruins to three NCAA championships, was the first overall selection in the 1969 draft by the Bucks and was a 19-time NBA All-Star.
The Lakers said Abdul-Jabbar will begin work immediately. He will accompany the team to Hawaii for training camp and work with the players at all home practices.
Abdul-Jabbar led the Bucks to the NBA championship in 1971, and was a member of five championship teams with the Lakers during the 1980s.
He worked briefly as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Clippers at the end of the 1999-2000 season and most recently was a scout for the New York Knicks.
OFFER TO HORNETS: Oklahoma City offered to become the home of the New Orleans Hornets this season following the devastation by Hurricane Katrina.
Mayor Mick Cornett acknowledged Friday that a Louisiana site would be the obvious choice for the Hornets. But he suggested Oklahoma City's Ford Center, which does not have a major league tenant, as an option.
"We could be the temporary home for the team and we're available if that makes sense to the city of New Orleans," Cornett said.
Hornets general manager Allan Bristow said no decision had been made on where the team would play.
RAPTORS WAIVE MURRAY: The Toronto Raptors waived small forward Lamond Murray on Friday. Murray barely played during his three seasons in Toronto, averaging 6.0 points, 2.7 rebounds in 95 games.
VAREJAO HAS SURGERY: Cleveland Cavaliers forward Anderson Varejao had arthroscopic surgery Friday to repair his dislocated right shoulder and is expected to miss the start of the season. The 6-foot-11 Varejao, a key contributor off Cleveland's bench as a rookie last season, was injured last month while playing for his native Brazil in a World Championship qualifying game in the Dominican Republic. The team doctors for the Cavaliers and baseball's Indians performed Varejao's surgery at the Cleveland Clinic.