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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's Life, On and Off the Court

This Program Is Rebroadcast From October 16, 2013

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

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