|No. 27, 33|
|Born:||June 28, 1974|
Los Angeles, California
|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 (born Sharmon Shah; June 28, 1974), known previously as Karim Abdul-Jabbar, is an American former professional football player who was a running back in the National Football League (NFL). Al-Jabbar played college football for the UCLA Bruins. He was drafted in the third round of the 1996 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. He also played for the Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts.
Born in Los Angeles, al-Jabbar attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where he played for the 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.
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 sixth 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, al-Jabar, 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. He also wore number 33, the same number that the basketball player 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.
The controversy eventually led to the basketball player suing the football player in 1997. The lawsuit led to the football player changing his legal name to Abdul-Karim al-Jabbar.