Kareem Abdul-Jabbar hit the jackpot in Las Vegas on this date in 1984 when he sank a right-handed skyhook from 15 feet that made him the highest-scoring player in NBA history.
Abdul-Jabbar surpassed record-holder and former Lakers center Wilt Chamberlain's 31,419 career points with 8:53 left in a 129-115 win over the Utah Jazz. Chamberlain, who was expected to attend the game but did not, had held the record since he retired in 1973. Abdul-Jabbar would finish his career with 38,387 points in regular-season play, still the record.
The Lakers would have played Oklahoma City on Sunday at Staples Center if the season hadn’t been postponed indefinitely by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lakers had gone 3-0 against the Thunder this season.
Here is a look at memorable games and outstanding sports performances on this date:
1915 — Jess Willard, known as "the Great White Hope," knocks out Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight champion, in the 26th round of a scheduled 45-round bout to win the world heavyweight title at Oriental Park in Havana.
1927 — Johnny Weissmuller breaks his 200 freestyle record by seven seconds in 2:08 at the U.S. swimming championships in San Francisco. He also lowers his own record in the 100 to 51 seconds, a record that stands for 17 years.
1959 — Art Wall birdies five of the last six holes and shoots a final-round 66 to edge Cary Middlecoff by one stroke and win the Masters. Wall started the day tied for 13th place, six shots behind the co-leaders, including Arnold Palmer.
1970 — New York beats Detroit 9-5 to take fourth place and the final playoff spot in the NHL's East division. The Rangers are the first team to advance to the Stanley Cup playoffs on goals scored when they finish in a tie with the Montreal Canadiens.
1993 — Donald Williams scores 25 points to lead North Carolina to a 77-71 victory over Michigan’s “Fab Five” in the NCAA final at the Superdome in New Orleans. The game is decided on free throws from a technical foul on Chris Webber when he calls a timeout the Wolverines didn’t have.
1997 — Bruce Baumgartner wins a record eighth World Cup wrestling gold medal, beating David Musulbes 2-1 in overtime at 275½ pounds as the United States routs Russia 25-7.
2008 — In the NCAA Final Four at San Antonio, Memphis beats UCLA 78-63 in the first semifinal to improve its record to 38-1, becoming the winningest team in a season. Russell Westbrook scores 22 points for the Bruins. In the second semifinal, Kansas’ Brandon Rush scores 25 as the Jayhawks beat North Carolina 84-66.
2009 — Brittany Lincicome, 23, sinks a four-foot eagle putt on No. 18 in the final round to win the Kraft Nabisco Championship for her first major title. Lincicome’s nine-under-par 279 is a stroke better than runners-up Kristy McPherson and Cristie Kerr.
2010 — Duke wins its fourth NCAA championship, holding off Butler 61-59 at the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis after surviving Gordon Hayward's desperation half-court shot attempt with four seconds to go that hits the rim.
2016 — Connecticut wins an unprecedented fourth consecutive women's national basketball title, capping a perfect season by routing Syracuse 82-51. Coach Geno Auriemma passes UCLA's John Wooden with his 11th national championship and a sixth undefeated season.
Sources: The Times, Associated Press