Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (above, left) was quizzed by SI.com’s Andrew Lawrence about the former’s recent work with young Lakers center Andrew Bynum, along with tackling the perception that Kareem is not the friendliest of characters. (link taken from True Hoop)

SI.com: As a child of the ’80s and a sportswriter of the ’00s, I’m having trouble divorcing your reputation as moody and reticent with the press from your on-screen affability. How much truth is there to those earlier impressions?

Kareem: It was definitely blown out of proportion, but at the time it was happening I didn’t do the right things to change it — so I’ve got to blame myself for that. But I was not the person that they tried to portray. But I didn’t do the simple things I could’ve done to change it. It falls in my lap. I don’t want to say that it was vendetta or anything, but I didn’t put everything together in terms of how I was perceived and how it affected people. I didn’t learn a lot about that until I was retired for some time.

Not a bad answer. And while Lawrence neglected to grill his subject about his recent habit of littering the streets of Harlem, it would have been awesome for Kareem to have grabbed the journalist by the lapels and replied, “I’ve been hearing that crap ever since I was at UCLA…tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes.”  Maybe next time.