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|No. 27, 33|
|Birth name:||Sharmon Shah|
|Date of birth:||June 28, 1974|
|Place of birth:||Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Height:||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Weight:||205 lb (93 kg)|
|NFL draft:||1996 / Round: 3 / Pick: 80|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
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 from 1996 to 2000 with the Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts.
Born in Los Angeles, California, he played 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 582 carries (5.2 avg.) with 16 touchdowns. He also added 36 receptions for 306 yards with one 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 1,200 yards.
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 TDs. 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.
In 1995, the Muslim Sharmon Shah 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. (The latter has a son named Kareem) He also wore number 33, the same number that Kareem 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.
In 1998, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar filed a lawsuit against Karim, stating that there were too many similarities between the two. In the lawsuit, Kareem listed that they both attended UCLA and both wore the No. 33. He felt that Karim was making profits and sponging off the name and number he made famous in the 1970s. He won a court order that required Karim to remove the "Abdul Jabbar " name from his jersey. In addition, all Dolphins jerseys with the "Abdul Jabbar " name and #33 were immediately pulled from the shelves and merchandising catalogs. Karim complied and had his name changed to simply 'Abdul '. Karim maintains that he chose the #33 as his uniform number not because of Kareem, but because of former Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett. After the lawsuit, he changed his name to Abdul Jabbar in 2000.
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