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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

NBA Legend & NY Times Best Selling Author
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Biography

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer and a six-time NBA champion. He is also one of a handful of influential and respected black men in America who has a national platform as a regular contributing columnist for The Washington Post and Time Magazine, where he shares his thoughts on some of the most socially relevant and politically controversial topics facing our nation today. After 50 years as an athlete, activist, and New York Times best-selling author, he offers his perspectives as a nationally recognized speaker who regularly appears on the lecture circuit. His new political book, Writings on the Wall - Searching for a New Equality Beyond Black and White was released Fall 2016 by Time Books and offers his personal perspectives on political issues facing America today.

Late last year, his HBO Sports documentary, Kareem: Minority of One, debuted as HBO’s most watched and highest rated sports documentary of all time.

Currently Abdul-Jabbar serves as the chairman of his Skyhook Foundation whose mission is to “Give Kids a Shot That Can’t be Blocked” by bringing educational STEM opportunities to under-served communities through innovative outdoor environmental learning. In 2012, Kareem was appointed to be the only U.S. Cultural Ambassador by then Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. His most recent projects include his debut novel Mycroft Holmes—a mystery novel and the first of an action/mystery series based on Sherlock Holmes’s savvy older brother—released by Titan Publishing. In addition to the success of his novel, his first comic book series, Mycroft Holmes & the Apocalypse Handbook was released during Comic-Con in San Diego in July 2016 and continues to be a bestseller. His next book will be a memoir entitled Coach Wooden & Me – our 50 year friendship and is set to debut June 2017. We ended 2016 with President Obama awarding Abdul-Jabbar with the Nation’s highest civilian honor, The Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Topics

Writings on the Wall: Searching for a New Equality Beyond Black & White

The Washington Post has called Kareem Abdul-Jabbar “a vital, dynamic and unorthodox cultural voice.” In this thought-provoking keynote, drawn from his latest book, Kareem takes on the issues that are deeply dividing America: racism, economic inequality, social injustice, the power of the media and more. Speaking from the heart and calling upon his personal experiences as an African-American and Muslim, he focuses on the solutions that could unite us and inspires younger generations to continue the path towards change. “They need a road map of what’s possible—and how to get there,” he has said. In this his inspiring presentation, Kareem provides a blueprint for positive action.

All-Star Leadership

From the streets of Harlem to six NBA championships to best-selling author and U.S. Cultural Ambassador, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has cultivated a reputation as a strong leader, both on and off the court. He now leverages these skills to lead a productive dialog on inequality in America, advocate for STEM education and champion those fighting cancer. In this motivational speech, he shares that for every success story, there was a challenge to overcome through discipline, perseverance, patience and sometimes, harsh introspection. He also cites the influence of great coaches, such as John Wooden, in shaping his concept of leadership. Bringing unforgettable stories and inspiring examples, Abdul-Jabbar connects with audiences from all walks of life.

Battling Cancer with Positivity

In 2008, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was diagnosed with early stage chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). “I thought leukemia as something exotic that happened to other people,” he said. “And then, all of a sudden, it happened to me.” He immediately made his diagnosis public. After learning that the high cost of treatment sometimes means that patients do not always take their medicines, he led an awareness campaign. This was not Kareem’s first encounter with cancer. “My grandfather died from colorectal cancer, my uncle died from colorectal cancer and my father almost died from colorectal cancer,” he said. This led him, as a carrier of the gene, to get involved in a colorectal cancer awareness campaign in the African-American community. He has also traveled to Capitol Hill to encourage the government to spend more money on cancer research. Possessing the high level of knowledge, awareness and empathy that comes from being a cancer survivor, Abdul-Jabbar’s talks engage and inspire while imparting valuable information on research, prevention, the quest for a cure, and the healing power of the human spirit.

Friendship & Mentorship: Creating Bonds for Success

Based on his new memoir, Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off the Court, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar explores one of the most enduring and meaningful relationships in sports history, sharing lessons that will translate to any business. The two icons first met when Wooden coached Kareem as a young player at UCLA. They reconnected years later when Kareem returned to Southern California to play for the Lakers, and they continued to grow closer until Wooden’s death in 2010 at age 99. Kareem recently told the Chicago Tribune, "our relationship evolved from being a mentor and father figure to being a friend, a co-traveler in life." In this keynote, Kareem discusses how their relationship explored the complex issues of race, wins, losses and pressure to succeed, as well as what everyone can learn from their remarkable friendship.

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