Interview with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

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The game, the structure, the style of the game that you played back to the basket center right trying to get high percentage shots closer to the basket that game has been completely forgotten, and there's very few. There's nobody who plays the center position the way you did with the back to the basket and it's like try to get the highest value shots the furthest away. But three pointers as much as you can does this style interest you disinterested you look down on it. You say you don't know how to play the game properly. Well, you know there, there are different theories about how to play the game but I think getting high percentage shots really makes a lot of sense, but it also has to dovetail with your defensive strategy also. So a great team like the Bill Russell. F- Celtics. Bill was able to to stymie any shots around the hoop and. His team. Would run and get high percentage shots down down court, and that was a winning strategy era. I mean, nobody's playing center. The way you did that is totally gone now. I think. So but that doesn't mean that someone cat had that type of skill and still come in effect the game. In a meaningful way, we talked earlier today. One of the things you said, the eighty five finals against the Celtics was one of your most important moments as a player. One of your crowning moments as a player you were the. MVP that year you guys won the Lakers one but you had to go through the Memorial Day massacre where you guys got crushed by like forty points a game over in the middle of third order and a down moment and I lived in Boston at that moment, it looked like are going to go on to destroy them. How did you come back to win and why do you think of that as one of your crowning moments as a player that series? Well I think that? What happened to me personally in that series was. Once, we made it into the finals I kind of relaxed. and. So I went into that first game thinking that. The worst is over and you know the the worst was yet to happen. So. It kind of woke me up and made me realize that I had to kick my game up a couple of levels in order to. Finish off what we started out to do because we lost. In eighty four to the Celtics and Gabe a game away. And that ended up being the the crucial game. How could you go into? A series against the Celtics who had Larry Bird who series plate you know clearly one of the great players of that time how you Gonna Like Oh, we got this. No. I didn't think that we got this but for me personally, I figured I've done my job where we're in the finals. Things. Think things will be alright and they work. One. Of the one of the chapters, one of the parts of the book that I really thought was really interesting. You talk about athletes and what they must do with how they have role models at the happy aware that they are role models and you say we can't pretend athletes are influencing our children's thinking and behavior. So we must demand higher standards from them like it or not college and Professional Sports. Machines are turning them into role models, and if they aren't willing to accept that responsibility as part of the contract, then they should seek another profession. Strong position. A little bit about why you feel that way when you went through that life right superstar High School Athlete College, Athlete, and you know the way that superstar athletes from a teen age are coddled. They are given you know love for their athletics points for their character. Society is not training them to be role models, but then they become big college players big prosed and we expect them to be role models. Are they even ready for that? I don't know you know for me. Being a black American and in the era that I grew up in all black. realized. That They would be judged by the actions of. Any problem. Black Person. And so. That burden. Was something that that you assumed. Soon, as you've got to do anything in a in a prominent fashion, you assume that burden because you knew that. All black people would be. Judged on whatever it was that you did and he's screwed up A. Set, the race. I mean that's absolutely right and you talk about that I came to realize that the lew alcindor that for the younger folk that was his name forty, fifty years ago the lew alcindor everyone was cheering. Was it really the person they wanted to be they wanted me to be the clean cut example of racial equality the poster boy for anybody from any background regardless of race religion or economic standing could become an American success story to them. I was living proof that racism was a mythological beast like Jack. Elope when when the audience is feeling like that right I assume the media is part of it. How do you? How do you rebel against that? Well. You just have to show them that they're wrong and. That that is not the case, there's a whole lot that has to be done. I into earlier. Right after Dr King was assassinated, I was involved in a demonstration on UCLA's campus and people. Would just standing there. and. It was a silent. stood. There for an hour in silence and some of US had signs and a number of times people came up to me and said, you're getting the opportunity to play in the NBA. What do you demonstrating for and they did not understand how these two things did not relate to each other at all the fact that I, I was getting opportunity to play in the NBA did not mean that what happened to Dr King was a tragedy and a crime and the. Thing to get across to people and the you know I, it's taken awhile you

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