"Dwight is an extraordinary athlete and has incredible athletic ability, but basketball is a game where the most important muscle that you use on the court is the one between your ears," Abdul-Jabbar said on ESPN's "First Take" show Thursday. "Dwight's basketball IQ is not up to speed for him to be a dominant player."
Howard, who signed with the Rockets this summer after one forgettable season with the Los Angeles Lakers, defended himself.
"You can't win three Defensive Player of the Year trophies and be stupid. That can't be done," he told the Houston Chronicle. "And I don't think any coach that has ever coached me has said I have a low IQ for basketball.
"Have I done some dumb stuff on the floor? Yes, every player has. Have I done some stupid things in life? Yes, it's life. We make mistakes and learn from them. It is what it is. I think I am very intelligent when it comes to the game of basketball. I have been playing since I was three years old. Each year, I get a little smarter.
"People will have something to say. Is what it is. I'm in (Houston) now. This city has my back and we are going to ride together."
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The Philadelphia 76ers signed free agent forward Gani Lawal on Saturday.
Lawal was a member of VEF Riga of the Latvian League. Last season, he averaged 14 points, eight rebounds and two blocks for Virtus Roma of the Italian League.
Lawal was a second round pick of the Phoenix Suns out of Georgia Tech in the 2010 draft.
The 24-year-old is a member of Nigeria's senior national team and competed in the 2013 FIBA Africa Championship.
In a corresponding move, the Sixers waived center Solomon Alabi.
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