Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is nowhere near the basketball court these days.
He has been busy preparing for a visit to Brazil starting Sunday in his first official trip as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. State Department.
But the former Lakers center and the NBA's all-time leading scorer still keeps tabs on the Lakers. In particular, Abdul-Jabbar maintains a watchful eye on center Andrew Bynum after working with him as a Lakers special assistant coach from 2005 to 2011.
The Lakers (10-6) visit the Orlando Magic on Friday at Amway Center in a game that features a matchup of Bynum and Dwight Howard, who leads NBA centers in points (20.1) and rebounds (15.6) per game. Abdul-Jabbar was reluctant to say which player the Lakers should covet more ahead of the league's trade deadline March 15.
"That's hard for me to call," Abdul-Jabbar said Friday in a phone interview with The Times. "I've never seen Dwight Howard play in person. I've only worked with Andrew. I've never seen Dwight up close ...