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I wore goggles, too

Aagz061 8X10~Kareem-Abdul-Jabbar-Hook-Shot-PostersI grew up in Los Angeles in the 70s and 80s, and basketball was my favorite sport to watch and play. Needless to say, the L.A. Lakers were my team, and its centerpiece Kareem Abdul-Jabbar my favorite player. To the degree that when I would play b-ball with my friends, and we’d pretend we were professionals, I always said I was Kareem. Though I was an exceedingly average-sized white kid. The only thing we had in common was that I wore goggles when I played (I wore glasses until I was around 12). And I shot a skyhook, though it rarely went in.

As I’ve grown up, I’ve learned that Kareem is a rarity in the sports world… A gentleman athlete, well-read, well-spoken, and, to his credit, *outspoken*. He changed his name from Lew Alcindor because of what he fiercely believed in.

Now, I see that Kareem is blogging for the L.A. Times. And if you look at his recent posts, he’s clearly a gifted, engaged, yet humble man.

  1. You were also an all-around good athlete. We were in Reno when you were eight years old. At Circus Circus you went up the the Basketball counter and bought three shots at a standard height and size hoop about a foul shot behind the counter. The attractive young operator offered to let you stand on the counter to make your shots. You declined and shot from the floor. And made all three baskets, winning you a big Bugs Bunny and looks of awe from

  2. all observers. I am emailing you a photo from that era you might want to add to your Kareem post.

    Excuse the split comment. A glitch in my computer or fingers.

  3. As to your observations about Kareem, as you might know, I have casual, continued contact and small conversation with him. He is less a defensive and guarded person than he was when I got you his autographed picture, sky-hooking high over his arch nemesis, Wilt Chamberlain about 25 years ago. He may not be a charmer, as in Charles Barkley, but he is a genuine person of high intellect and humane intent.

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