The first memoir for young readers by sports legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
At one time, Lew Alcindor was just another kid from New York City with all the usual problems: He struggled with fitting in, with pleasing a strict father, and with overcoming shyness that made him feel socially awkward. But with a talent for basketball, and an unmatched team of supporters, Lew Alcindor was able to transform and to become Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
From a childhood made difficult by racism and prejudice to a record-smashing career on the basketball court as an adult, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s life was packed with “coaches” who taught him right from wrong and led him on the path to greatness. His parents, coaches Jack Donahue and John Wooden, Muhammad Ali, Bruce Lee, and many others played important roles in Abdul-Jabbar’s life and sparked him to become an activist for social change and advancement. The inspiration from those around him, and his drive to find his own path in life, are highlighted in this personal and awe-inspiriting journey.
Written especially for young readers, Becoming Kareem chronicles how Kareem Abdul-Jabbar become the icon and legend he is today, both on and off the court.
Presidential Medal of Freedom
“Receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom would be an honor under any circumstances, but receiving it from President Obama, who has fought so tirelessly to bring about social justice for everyone, makes it that much sweeter. I’m especially proud to be sharing this award with some of the people who have influenced my life. This acknowledgment invigorates me to continue the battle until everyone shares the great bounty of opportunity that this country has to offer. I’m hoping it will inspire others to do the same.”
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 underserved communities through innovative outdoor environmental learning. A NY Times best-selling author, he has written 14 books, including two recent memoirs: Becoming Kareem for young readers, and Coach Wooden and Me about his lifelong friendship with famed UCLA coach John Wooden.
His Emmy Award-winning HBO Sports documentary, Kareem: Minority of One, debuted as HBO’s most watched and highest rated sports documentary of all time.
In 2017 Abdul-Jabbar, an avid numismatic coin collector, was appointed as the first African-American to the CCAC (Citizens Coin Advisory Council) in its 100-year history, where he helps decide on all coins that are to be minted in The United States.
Before leaving office President Barack Obama awarded Abdul-Jabbar The Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.