Kareem Abdul Jabbar
Kareem is definitely one of the greatest basketball players of all time. I’m sure this is obvious to you. (But I always have to start my introductions with the obvious, unfortunately.)
This podcast isn’t about basketball. Or sports. This one is about the search for your own identity.
(More on that in a second. I’ll tell you my favorite lesson from Kareem). But first, more of the obvious.
Kareem played 20 seasons of professional basketball. He stopped in 1989. But he STILL, to this day, holds the record for the most points scored in any one, single basketball player’s career.
38,387 – the unbeatable, magic number.
He’s also NBA’s all-time leading scorer. And a six-time NBA champion.
50 years of athleticism. THAT’S peak performance.
Then he combined his career with activism, philanthropy (President Obama awarded him with “The Presidential Medal of Freedom,” the nation’s highest civilian honor.). Kareem’s also collaborated with HBO documentaries to create the highest rated sports documentary in history.
Then he started writing. He wrote about coming to grips with his identity as a basketball player. He came face to face with his racial identity, religious identity and spiritual identity. And he continues his quest for these things over and over. (I do, too. I think that’s why I do this podcast.)
I wanted him to tell me about his search for his identity. Here’s what he told me…
“Knowledge is power. Find out about what your future could be. And figure out what you want to do to get to that future. Don’t let it be imposed upon you.”
That’s where the “power of no” comes in. Say no more so you can say “yes” to what you want to say “yes” to.
“Seek out all the knowledge that you can. Figure out what motivates you, he said. “And then pursue those things.”
So I asked him, “How can someone start improving their knowledge?”
And I learned this:
“Well you have to understand that fundamental preparation is essential to success. Not matter what it is that you’re doing you have to be fundamentally sound,” Kareem said.
If you listen to this podcast and read Kareem’s writings I bet you’ll see how to start searching for yourself. His book’s called “Becoming Kareem.” Your life has your title… “Becoming ________” For me, it’s “Becoming James.” I can publish a hundred times and still have days unwritten. That’s why reinventing is forever.
Kareem puts so much thought into his writing. I can really see his identity coming through.
If you’re looking for something inside yourself I bet you’ll start to find it here.
Links and Resources
- “Becoming Kareem: Growing Up On and Off the Court” by Kareem Abdul Jabbar
- “Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off the Court” by Kareem Abdul Jabbar
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