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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Life, On And Off the Court

NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is with us on turning his own childhood struggles into stories of inspiration.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is an NBA legend, author, actor and global cultural ambassador. His new novel for young adults, "Sasquatch in the Paint," is the first in a planned series of novels. (Disney Publishing Worldwide)

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is an NBA legend, author, actor and global cultural ambassador. His new novel for young adults, “Sasquatch in the Paint,” is the first in a planned series of novels. (Disney Publishing Worldwide)

Towering basketball master of the “sky hook,” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was an NBA superstar of the very highest order.  Top career scorer in the history of the NBA.  More MVP awards than Jordan.  “The most beautiful athlete in sports,” Magic Johnson called him.  But he was always more than his 7-foot-2-inch height and stats.  Born Lew Alcindor, he adopted Islam and the famous name that means “generous servant of the mighty one.”  Always read.  Always studied.  Including studying humankind.  Now he’s got advice to give.  Up next On Point:  superstar, thinker, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guest

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, retired NBA superstar for the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks, leading scorer in history of the league, author of “Sasquatch in the Paint,” “Black Profiles in Courage: A Legacy of African-American Achievement” and a U.S. global cultural ambassador. (@kaj33)

From Tom’s Reading List

Chicago Tribune: NBA’s Best All Time? You Be The Judge — “The NBA’s all-time leading scorer is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He also led the league in blocked shots four times. And he matched Jordan’s total of six NBA championships with the Lakers and Bucks.Abdul-Jabbar was a six-time league MVP and 19-time All-Star. Jordan was a five-time MVP and 14-time All-Star. And we haven’t even introduced to the conversation Wilt Chamberlain, who once scored a record 100 points in a single game, won seven league scoring titles, 11 rebounding titles and even led the league in assists. ‘There are several layers of talent you have to deal with when you’re talking about the game,” Abdul-Jabbar told me last week. “Most young people today are only aware of the NBA, like, since 2005. So it’s difficult to get through to them about all of the things that happened before they were born.’”

New York Times: U.S. Drafts Abdul-Jabbar As Cultural Ambassador – ”Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s life has been a case study in the art of the possible, from his humble Harlem roots to N.B.A. fame and through his life after basketball as a historian and scholar. His next endeavor will draw on all of it. Abdul-Jabbar was named a United States cultural ambassador Wednesday, with a mission of promoting education, racial tolerance and cultural understanding among young people around the world. He leaves Sunday for a six-day assignment in Brazil and will visit at least four more countries this year.”

Los Angeles Times: Talking With Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — “38,387 points? 3 NCAA titles? 6 NBA titles, matching the league MVP tallies? 50 Greatest Players status and HOF membership? Or just the classic ‘Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes.’ Any way you slice it, summarizing the career of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar into a neat little paragraph is no walk in the park.”

Read An Excerpt of “Sasquatch In the Paint” by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Ramond Obstfeld

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Jim

    I like to ask if Kareem can tell us a little about his relationship with Bruce Lee.

    Plus, who does he think is the better scorer in Boston, Kevin McHale or Larry Bird?

    Lastly, please ask Kareem if his deadly skyhook invented by him and used by Magic as well will be use again in today’s game. To me, the skyhook is extinct since Magic retire which is really a shame.

  • Terrence Lynch

    Kareem’s basketball life doesn’t matter as much as his humanity and yearning for peace. Please tell us how your Moslem faith isn’t a threat to America–but a continuation of this country’s tolerance, a source of its strength.

  • Steve__T

    Salam Kareem,
    I have always thought of you as the gentle giant, but ferocious on the court, one of my favorite remembrances of you, was when I was a shuttle driver for then RTD and as I was calling out stops you were walking through Westwood village with a throng of people gathering around you, no one taller than your elbow, and called out to the riders “And their on the right the greatest basketball player of our time”. They all got off to follow you.

    I see that you are still trying to give young people a way to think positively of life and progress. For all that you have done and for all you do. Shokran.

  • brettearle

    Why does the envisioning of Jesus–in the way that the Jehovah’s Witnesses see Jesus or in the way that any other Christian sects regard Jesus –ultimately matter in terms of Faith; Belief; leading a pious life on Earth; and finding one’s place in Heaven?

    Why isn’t a TRUE Christian simply a TRUE Christian–whether he is a Methodist, a Jehovah’s Witness, or a Catholic?

    So some approaches are different. So what?

    If you’re a Christian, why should we worry about such religious differences–if we’ve led a Christian life?

  • edwardchamberlain

    test

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