You know me—or you wouldn’t be here. You know that while I was at UCLA, I’m the reason they banned the slam dunk. You know I broke a lot of records in the NBA, was an NBA champion 6 times, and was Most Valuable Player 6 times. I held the record for most points scored—38,387—for almost 40 years, until LBJ broke it. And I made famous the Skyhook.
I’m proud of what I accomplished as an athlete, but I am equally proud of what I accomplished since leaving the NBA. I’ve applied the same discipline and dedication to writing that I once applied to sports. I’ve published articles about sports, politics, and popular culture in Time, Newsweek, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Hollywood Reporter, and many other periodicals.
I’ve written books designed to bring to prominence overlooked People of Color in American history, including Black Profiles in Courage: A Legacy of African-American Achievement, Brothers in Arms: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion, World War II's Forgotten Heroes, On the Shoulders of Giants: My Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance, What Color Is My World? The Lost History of African American Inventors, Writings on the Wall: Searching for a New Equality Beyond Black and White. Basically, I wanted to share the achievements and struggles of my people with the rest of the world.
I also wanted to entertain which, let's face it, is the job of every professional athlete. I was a writer on the Veronica Mars TV series. I wrote 3 novels and a graphic novel about Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock’s smarter brother. I wrote a young adult series about basketball-playing pals who solve crimes.
My years as a basketball player defined me, but my years as a writer refined me. Sports gave me a public voice and I have been using it since my years at UCLA to speak up and out about social injustice. That voice was amplified when I was chosen as U.S. Global Cultural Ambassdor and when I received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama. For me, those honors were just opportunities to continue the fight for doing what’s right. That is how I slam-dunk these days.
Now I’m here at Substack to carry on with more articles, thoughts, and ruminations about the intersection of sports, politics, and popular culture. I intend to delve into everything from LeBron’s game plan for another Lakers championship, to protests against laws restricting the rights of the marginalized, to why it matters who hosts Jeopardy. If it interests me, I’m hoping it will interest you. To me, the best way to understand America is to explore how all three of those topics interact to reveal our interests, our values, and our path forward.
I hope you’ll join me on the path forward by subscribing to my newsletter in which over the coming months I hope to entertain and inform—and even surprise. Every new edition of the newsletter goes directly into your inbox, so you’re always up to date. The cost is $8 per month or $80 for the year. Less than the cost of the average NBA ticket for one game. That gives you access to additional articles, my frequent posts, and allows you to join in the vigorous comments with other members of the community.
For those of you who can’t afford to subscribe, no worries. There will be free content available.
Copyright Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 2022. Any illegal reproduction of this content will result in immediate legal action.