When I first heard about “Sweet Lew” prior to the release of Binaural, I didn’t make the connection with Lew Alcindor (aka Kareem Abdul Jabbar), even though Pearl Jam has a long history of connections with basketball. I just thought it was a strange title, and my interest was piqued. It was then piqued even further by the fact that the song didn’t show up on the album, even though the Ten Club was selling “Sweet Lew” stickers. What was this song? But there isn’t much that could have prepared me for what I ultimately heard on Lost Dogs, a two-minute Ament-sung/spoken/rapped homage to the boyhood hero who was something of a cold fish when the two met. There’s really not a whole lot to say about “Sweet Lew” except props to the band for going through with the whole thing, and then having the cojones to release it. It’s silly, bizarre, and Ament’s obvious affection and fandom for at least the public side of Lew Alcindor is cute to observe. The song has precious little replay value, but at the same time does sound quite a bit like the aural equivalent of basketball, with Ament’s slinky bass and Cameron’s drums echoing like a ball on the court.