Abdul-Karim al-Jabbar

Abdul-Karim Al-Jabbar
No. 27, 33
Position: Running back
Personal information
Born: (1974-06-28) June 28, 1974
Los Angeles, California
Height: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight: 205 lb (93 kg)
Career information
College: UCLA
NFL Draft: 1996 / Round: 3 / Pick: 80
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing yards: 3,411
Rushing average: 3.4
Touchdowns: 33
Player stats at NFL.com

Abdul-Karim al-Jabbar, previously Karim Abdul-Jabbar (born Sharmon Shah on June 28, 1974), is an American former football running back. He played in the National Football League (NFL) from 1996 to 2000 with the Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Browns, and Indianapolis Colts.


Born in Los Angeles, California, he playyed for the UCLA Bruins from 1992 to 1995 under head coach Terry Donahue. He set the school record for rushing yards in a season and was named team MVP in consecutive years under the names 'Sharmon Shah' in 1994 and 'Karim Abdul-Jabbar' in 1995. He was a three-year letterman and two-year starter at UCLA. Despite leaving school with one season of eligibility remaining, he ranks third on the Bruins' all-time rushing list with 3,030 yards on 482 carries (5.2 avg.) with 26 touchdowns. He also added 36 receptions for 885 yards with 9 touchdown. Karim averaged 110.1 total yards per game in college and was the only player in school history (and seventh in Pac-10 annals) to rush for over 1,600 yards.

Professional career

Al-Jabbar was drafted in the third round of the 1996 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins, with whom he would play three and a half seasons. In his rookie year, he set many of the Dolphins' rookie records for rushing by a running back. He became only the second Dolphin to lead the team in rushing in each of his first two seasons in the league. In 1997, he led the NFL in total touchdowns with 16 and tied Denver Broncos running back Terrell Davis for the league lead with 15 rushing touchdowns. Afterwards his productivity decreased. In 1999, the Dolphins traded him to the Cleveland Browns for a third round draft pick in the 2000 NFL Draft; while he did put up some decent numbers, it was not enough to earn himself a contract extension.[1]

Name controversy

In 1995, Sharmon Shah, a Muslim, was given the name "Karim Abdul-Jabbar" by his Imam. The new name he was given quickly garnered major attention upon his NFL debut. Some commentators mistakenly believed that he was the son of former basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who also attended UCLA under the name Lew Alcindor and who himself has a son named Kareem.[2] He also wore number 33, the same number that the older Abdul-Jabbar had worn.

The name controversy was periodically spoofed on postgame recaps, such as in 1996 when Chris Berman of ESPN called an Abdul-Jabbar touchdown rush with an imitation of Marv Albert, who was famous for announcing basketball as well as football games.[3]


  1. "ESPN.com - HGH: Performance enhancer or healer?". Sports.espn.go.com. 2006-09-05. Retrieved 2015-04-01.
  2. "The Official Website of Kareem Abdul Jabbar » 2008 » March". Kareemabduljabbar.com. Retrieved March 30, 2014.
  3. "YouTube". YouTube.com. Retrieved 2015-04-01.
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