ABC

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Lindsay Arnold take the dance floor next, performing a cha cha to “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” by Stevie Wonder.

Bruno Tonioli questions how he could “criticize a national treasure,” but he adds that he didn’t over-dance. Carrie Ann Inaba praises the performance and entertainment aspects, but says he needs to get groovier. Len Goodman says Abdul-Jabbar would get a 10 for admiration, but tells him to loosen up. They score a 17.

Watch Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Lindsay Arnold’s Sparkly Cha Cha

Welcome to “Dancing with the Stars” season 26! Athletes are trading in their sneakers for sequins as the new, four-week season premieres tonight. Stars from the sports world will compete for the coveted Mirrorball trophy during the special, all-athlete season. Ten couples will dance a cha cha, salsa, Viennese waltz or foxtrot during the two-hour-long premiere and, by the end of the episode, two people will be eliminated based on live voting and judges’ scores.

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Abdul-Jabbar is an NBA legend. According to ABC, he “is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, a six-time NBA champion and the league’s only 6x MVP. He is one of a handful of influential and respected black men in America who has a national platform as a regular contributing columnist for newspapers and magazines around the world, such as The Guardian and The Hollywood Reporter, where he shares his thoughts on some of the most socially relevant and politically controversial topics facing our nation today. After 50 years as an athlete and activist, he offers his perspectives as a nationally recognized speaker who regularly appears on the lecture circuit.”

“Dancing with the Stars: Athletes” is hosted by Tom Bergeron and sports broadcaster Erin Andrews. The judging panel is composed of ballroom experts Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli. Their scores, along with America’s votes, determine who gets to stay and who is sent home as couples vie for the coveted Mirrorball trophy during the special, four-week season.

The current contestants include Olympic figure skaters Adam Rippon and Mirai Nagasu, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Notre Dame basketball player Arike Ogunbowale. Other athletes who are competing this season include Chris Mazdzer, Jamie Anderson, Jennie Finch, Johnny Damon, Josh Norman and Tonya Harding.

The all-athlete edition of “Dancing with the Stars” airs every Monday night at 8 p.m. on ABC.

What did you think of their performance tonight? Sound off in the comments section below!

Photo credit: ABC

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