May 08, 2008

Answering Fan Mail On Olympics Boycott: 1968 vs. 2008

I have received many comments on my article about the Olympics Boycott, on paper and online - so here we go:

To Frank Antonacci, Sid Holmes, Dean Nelson, Jim Beran, Steve Adams, Ed Robinson, Steve Baker, Arthur Carlson, Rich Larsen, Clarence Chappell, Greg Gose, Jamile, Ed Shatzen, Carla Nardoni, Christian DeBlis, Bill Lundy, Bob Guild... Thanks for your support.

To Beau... An Olympic medal would have been a nice experience for me but I felt that my diploma was a more important priority and stayed with my summer job. Thanks.

To Klaus Beiten... Klaus stated that many other nations have issues with U.S. that are quite similar to the issues other say that they have with China. I am very aware of the double standards that stick out when life in America is compared with life in other countries. Truly not one nation on Earth can claim it is doing a perfect job in caring for all of its citizens. We have a ways to go as a species. I hope more people like us are able to reach out and create more awareness on these issues.

To Robert Liu... Thanks for your response to my article. I hope there will be more opportunities for our various communities to interact. All the best, K.

To Chuck Reilly... As I clearly stated in my article there was no boycott of the '68 Olympics. I personally did not boycott those Olympics nor do I regret not going. Our nation was represented by outstanding basketball athletes in 68 who won the gold medal. I am proud and happy to say that I don't hate anyone based on their ethnicity. I've had issues with how some white people have treated black Americans through the years. You might want to google Emmitt Till, Medgar Evers or Martin Luther King Jr., also the movie "Mississippi Burning". The last thing I should share with you is the fact that any issues between myself and my high school coach were amicably resolved long before he passed away. Sorry to disappoint you. Oh and the R.I. tourney was in December of '63.

To Kai Chen... Thanks for your informative e-mail that shares info on the nature of the Chinese Communist Party. Detailed information on that subject was not available to me before I heard from you. I will not be totally ignorant about that subject in the future. I hope that athletes such as yourself will be able to attain the democratic freedoms we take for granted.

And finally thank you all, and each one of you. Your K.


April 28, 2008

Answering my fan mail

Regarding Horton Hears a Racist....
I have enjoyed the various responses to my blog on “Horton Hears a Racist”. I didn’t seek to try to pin a ‘racist’ label on the makers but I just don’t think that they thought about the whole effect of the story on young minds. We need to promote the worth of all of our children and seek to have them all, boys & girls, achieve all that they can. Dr. Seuss’ original text was not focused in the way the movie is. The additional sub plot, in my view, clearly points to girls as being less capable and less valuable than boys.

My 61st Birthday...
I survived my birthday without having any traumatic events transpire. Herbie Hancock and Smokey Bill Robinson played Happy Birthday for me. It was a great night. I'm gonna post some of my birthday party pictures later so stay tuned. Thanks to one and all for your birthday wishes, it was very much appreciated.

Answering a couple of fans...
To Charles from Hong Kong, stretching and cardio work well keep you where you want to be as far as maintenance. To keep the pounds off remember to check your positions when you sit at the table.
Rasbad and Rocky. You guys need to do something everyday to maintain your conditioning. Cardio and stretching are the best.

Nina Simone...
I met Nina Simone one time only.  But Nina was always true to her ideals. I was impressed totally by her integrity and sense of humor. The music she left us well endures. Enjoy. K.

March 07, 2008

Political maelstrom

Kareem_flag It seems that I have stepped into the political maelstrom forming as the November elections approach.  Rocky has asked about how the Republicans are trying to portray Obama as a Muslim and how it might affect the race. 

I don’t think it should affect the race because -- it shouldn’t affect the race.  Sen. Obama chose the Christian faith at a time when that decision was an issue in his life.  He has remained committed to his Christianity.  So in terms of religion, he is no different from any other candidate. 

The office of the president of the United States is not supposed to be administered in a manner that indulges the president’s religious beliefs.  The aspect of separation of church and state makes it possible for all of us to get along in terms of politics and public policy.  We must thank the Founding Fathers for their wisdom in this matter.  It is my hope that Sen. Obama's middle name or his father’s name do not create issues that have no place in the campaign.  Obama is 100% American, and I see no reason to fault his patriotism.

Regarding my blog on Mbenga –- I did not try to suggest that liberty and freedom are not accessible in other nations.  I simply was expressing my joy in knowing that those rights and privileges are still accessible in the U.S.A. 

March 05, 2008

Sonny Rollins, saxophone colossus


I received an inquiry in February from Jacques who wanted to know if Sonny Rollins plays the saxophone on the Rolling Stones' "Tattoo You" album.  The answer is yes.

It is always a pleasure to have a reason to reach out to Sonny and have a chat.  Sonny is a major figure in the evolution of modern jazz.  He was inspired to play the sax by the seminal figures Coleman Hawkins and Charlie Parker.  Sonny's talents were obvious very early in his career.  He recorded very important works with Bud Powell and Fats Navarro in 1949 when he was still 18 years old.  Sonny remembers waiting outside of Coleman "Bean" Hawkins' home in Harlem to get his autograph, and Bean was inspirational in Sonny's life.  This is evident in Sonny's choice of the tenor sax as his instrument. 

Sonny always worked with the best performers, starting with Babs Gonzalez and including Clifford Brown and Thelonious Monk.  Earlier in his career he had worked in George Hall's band, a distinction he shares with my dad.  Sonny became disillusioned with his art for a while and took time off to reconsider his direction.  During this time, he would practice at odd hours on one of the bridges connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn.  His first disc after his hiatus is entitled "The Bridge" and is some of his best work.  He was someone I looked up to for his professionalism and inventive curiosity.  I was inspired to be at my best after witnessing his performances while I was in high school. 

Even saxophone icon John Coltrane was inspired by Sonny, writing a song entitled "Like Sonny." Sonny's exemplary courage and leadership have inspired people in all walks of life.  Michael Caine had him write and perform the music for the movie "Alfie."  That soundtrack has become standard in the jazz vocabulary.  The remake of that movie, released a couple of years ago, omitted the best part of the first film -- its original score by Sonny Rollins.  Shame on them!  But Sonny marches on.  He still performs at jazz venues around the world -- a colossus striding the world stage.

February 26, 2008

Answering fan mail II

I wanted to add an answer to one more question that didn't make it onto the previous video.  I received a great question/response on my Slice ‘Em blog from Robert Sommers, and I would like to respond. 

Robert speaks of the traditional arts as being civilized and measured as opposed to the mixed martial arts phenomena that are so popular these days.  He certainly has a point. 

Unrestrained aggression is a very ugly path to take in living one’s life.  On the other hand, when someone’s life, loved ones, or home is threatened, it is necessary to respond in a radical way.  We have to be prepared to deal with those who use violence as their voice.  The balance is found in knowing when to act and when to use reason.  But it is so difficult to find that moderate space when dealing with irrational aggression.

Click here to check the prior fan mail

February 21, 2008

Having a heart to heart with fans...

February 19, 2008

On the rebound: Answering blogmail

Count basie orchestra A couple of days ago, I received the following comment from "Vman" in response to my blog about Dr. West , the co-inventor of the electret microphone used in almost 90% of all microphones built today:

A question from my 10-year-old...
So, Dr. West, 'inventor of the microphone,' invented it in 1962?
How were we able to hear Count Basie?"

First, let me say how impressed I am that a 10-year-old was so intelligent to ask that question.  Of course, it’s true that microphones existed long before Dr. West.  In fact, in 1827, English physicist and telegraph inventor Sir Charles Wheatstone (1802-1875) first coined the word “microphone.”  In 1876, German immigrant Emile Berliner (1851-1929), working in Washington , D.C. , invented a microphone used in telephones to transmit speech.  (He was also the first to invent the gramophone that recorded on disks, later called records.  His company’s symbol was a dog listening to the gramophone.)  Then in 1878, David Edward Hughes (1831-1900) invented the carbon microphone that is the model for the modern microphone. Which brings us to African-American Dr. James E. West and his co-inventor Gerhard Sessler, who received a patent for the electroacoustic transducer, and electret microphone.  The electret microphone is more reliable, acoustically accurate, smaller, and cheaper than conventional microphones.  So, while Dr. West didn’t invent the microphone, he invented a type of microphone that was small and so reliable that it could be used in everything from hearing aids to cell phones.  It’s also used on the space shuttles.

Here are some more answers to your questions:

How has martial arts influenced your workout? Do you continue to study? If so, how has your regimen changed?
-- Jon K

Jon K -- Martial arts has affected my training regimen by making me conscious of how I need to anticipate the various circumstances I will encounter in contests. Training for basketball means that the fundamental basketball skills -- shooting, passing and defense -- must be worked on with an emphasis on endurance. A basketball game is 48 minutes long, so the aspect of performing the fundamental skills while being tired must be addressed. So cardiovascular endurance is an absolute necessity in your training regimen. These days I don't work so much on my basketball skills, since I'm retired, but the fundamentals of strength, flexibility and cardio are always part of what I do. I try to include other activities that are fun but keep the fundamental skills sharp. So I'll jump rope, swim, run some cross country, play squash or ride my bike.

Do you have any thoughts on why yoga studios are so full of women and so few men practice?
-- Jaime

Answer after the jump...

Continue reading "On the rebound: Answering blogmail" »

Captain Kareem

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is considered by many fans and sportswriters to be the greatest basketball player of all time. The 7-foot-2 Hall of Fame center, famous for his indefensible skyhook, dominated the NBA for 20 years, first with the Milwaukee Bucks then with the Los Angeles Lakers. Before that he was the star of the UCLA Bruins teams that won three consecutive NCAA championships. Kareem was the NBA's MVP six times, a 19-time all-star and set the NBA all-time records in nine categories. He is the NBA's all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points, a record that may never be broken.

Since retiring as a player in 1989, Kareem has balanced his love of basketball with his love of history. In 2002 he led a USBL team, the Oklahoma Storm, to a championship. Since 2005, he has been the special assistant coach for the Lakers, working with Andrew Bynum.

In 2008 he was chosen The Greatest Player in College Basketball History.

Kareem also remains intellectually active, authoring six bestselling history books intended to popularize the contributions of African-Americans to American culture and history. His books include "Black Profiles in Courage: A Legacy of African-American Achievement"; "Brothers in Arms: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion, WWII's Forgotten Heroes"; "A Season on the Reservation," which chronicles his time teaching basketball and history on an Apache Indian reservation in White River, Ariz.; and the current New York Times and Los Angeles Times bestseller, "On the Shoulders of Giants: My Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance."

His audio adaptation, "On the Shoulders of Giants: My Audio & Musical Journey through the Harlem Renaissance," is a four-volume compilation read by Bob Costas, Avery Brooks, Jesse L. Martin, and Stanley Crouch, and features private and fascinating conversations with dozens of icons, including Coach John Wooden, Julius Erving, Charles Barkley, Samuel L. Jackson, Maya Angelou, Quincy Jones and Billy Crystal. He has also been written to L.A. Times, under the Sports section.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been appearing on various radio stations and TV shows, as well as the most relevant websites talking about his life and his new audio book, On the Shoulders of Giants.

All images are property of unless otherwise stated. All info copyrighted and owned by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is not replicated without permission.

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Kareem_READ The American Library Association (ALA) is pleased to announce that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has joined the popular Celebrity READ poster series. The Celebrity READ poster campaign is one of the most effective ways to encourage people to get a good education, improve their reading skills, and to read for sheer enjoyment.
Mr. Abdul-Jabbar is the 2008 Honorary Chair Library Card Sign-up Month, which takes place in September. He will also appear at the American Library’s National Convention on June 28th and 29th at the Long Beach Convention Center to sign his poster.

To purchase Mr. Abdul-Jabbar's poster and to view the entire line of Celebrity READ Posters, please click here. now!

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