Tuesday, April 23 is a good day to talk about basketball, since we’re in the middle of the NBA playoffs, and 30 years ago today was the last regular season game of one of the greats on and off the court.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar the basketball player had a career that stretched from the heyday of Wilt Chamberlain to the heyday of Michael Jordan, and he kept pace with both. He scored a record 38,387 points. Remember, that’s 1, 2 or 3 points at a time. And he showed agility and versatility you didn’t often see in a guy who was 7 foot 2 and playing center.
He won three college championships at UCLA, six NBA titles, six MVP awards…. if I spell out all these accolades we’d be here all day.
And the thing about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is that his accolades aren’t just in basketball! Few sports stars at his level have gone on to excel in so many other areas. He was an innovator in fitness, using training regimens that included yoga and meditation decades before they were mainstream. He’s a prolific author whose books include a survey of the cultural influence of Harlem, where he grew up, and several novels about Sherlock Holmes’ older, smarter brother Mycroft.
He’s been a cultural ambassador for the US, an activist for a range of causes, a longtime columnist, a coach, he’s a writer on the reboot of Veronica Mars, winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and he’s been in dozens of movies and TV shows. His first film role by the way? was in a picture called “Game of Death” where he did a fight scene with none other than Bruce Lee.
And he’s an airline pilot. He has clearance, Clarence.
We’ve talking about driving to the hoop today, and speaking of driving, Doctors Medical Center in Modesto is trying out a new way to help its youngest patients get ready for the operating room. Instead of that long, anxious walk to surgery, the kids get to DRIVE to their procedures in a child-sized Mercedes Benz convertible.
It may not be street legal but it’s very well equipped, with working lights and stereo system, automatic doors – even a remote control that can help the littlest patients drive down the corridors.
And with any luck the kids will enjoy their drives so much they won’t have time to worry about operations.
Legends profile: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (NBA.com)
Photo: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson share a laugh at Byron Scott Lakers press conference (2014). © Oliver Petalver / TheDailySportsHerald. Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDer ivs Creative Commons