March 2008

My Thoughts on UCLA in the Final Four

The last time I attended the NCAA Finals was in 2006 when UCLA played the Florida Gators for the championship. As I was walking down the tunnel with Bill Walton to enter the stadium my cellphone rang. It was Coach Wooden’s family calling to let me know Coach was in the hospital in serious condition. I was stunned as I …


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Exclusive Interview With Donald Trump on the Eve of ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’ Finale

(Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Donald Trump and Deborah Morales) My interest in “Celebrity Apprentice” is more than just the fun of seeing these dignified celebrities battle it out with such intensity.  I’m also interested in how these icons that have achieved so much professional success and are willing to put themselves on the line in order to benefit their personal charities. My …


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Dr. George Grant: Golf Fit Him to a Tee

(Tiger Woods for the WGC CA Championship at the Doral Golf Resort and Spa, in Miami.) My relationship with golf is rather distant. I can enjoy watching but I don’t have the desire to spend my free time on the course or at the range. I’m from the Mark Twain school of golf. Mark Twain described golf as “a fine …


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James Forten: A Man With the Wind at His Back

James Forten (1766-1842) was born in Philadelphia, the grandson of slaves. Forten began working with his father at Robert Bridges’ sail loft when he was only 8 years old. When his father was killed in a boating accident a year later, young James had to work even harder and longer hours to help support his family. During the Revolutionary War, …


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Obama, the Rev. Wright and the Legacy of Emmett Till

The recent uproar about Barack Obama’s former pastor has pushed a very explosive issue into the presidential campaign. The issue of our country’s history with regard to race is one that Sen. Obama literally embodies in his physical being as well as various political stances he has taken. I’m responding to the attacks that he has endured because of the …


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Common Myths About Me: Why Was Kareem So Mad?

(Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson) Photo Credit: Malek Mansour Which of the following is not true: A. You can catch a cold from going outside with your hair wet. B. You have to drink eight glasses of water a day. C. Candy makes kids hyperactive. D. Reading in dim light will ruin your eyesight. The answer: none are true. A …


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The Care & Maintenance of the Over-50 Athlete: Strength Training

Whether you’re still trying to be competitive with much younger athletes or are just looking for the maximum health benefits from a fitness routine, strength training is a must.  The problem is that strength training is mostly misunderstood—and therefore misapplied—by many who are over 50 (and even under 50).  And it’s very important that they get it right, because we …


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Exchanging E-Mails with Obama

(Sen. Barack Obama, seated at center, with his junior varsity basketball team in the 1977 yearbook of the Punahou School in Honolulu.) I was exchanging some e-mails with Sen. Obama and he was able to answer some questions that people have run by me when his name comes up. The one issue that people raise the most is that people …


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It IS How You Play the Game That Counts

All last week I was reminded of the speed and great distance that a person can fill in such a short time.  The great track and field athlete Marion Jones had to surrender herself for incarceration at a federal penitentiary in Texas. I had admired her talent and poise as she dominated her sport.  She was a prominent face at …


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Number One

I’ve been honored by being chosen the Number One college player of all time. It is a very special honor for me because I have been picked ahead of some of my heroes and many superb collegians.  When I’ve been asked about my status, I have always deferred to Oscar Robertson and Bill Russell as the greatest players in college …


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Benjamin Banneker: The Colonial Da Vinci

Historians routinely praise Thomas Jefferson as one of the smartest men of his time.  He was educated, well read, a prolific writer (hey, he wrote the Declaration of Independence!), a dedicated statesman, and one of the most powerful men in the country.  One can only wonder at what kind of self-confidence and courage it must have taken for someone at …


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Fit after 50: Staying Flexible With Yoga

(Photo left: then; Kareem 1981. Photo right: now; Kareem 2008) Yoga scares some people. They imagine a white-robed cult of New Age zombies sipping herbal green tea and smiling vacantly. For some, the problem is the word itself: yoga. Funny-looking, foreign and too exotic. Okay, for you we’ll call it “power-stretching” or “ultimate breathing” or “hot-bod sculpting.”  Is that better? …


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Q & A at the American Library Association

I would like to share with you such great time  I had responding to audience questions at the ALA Midwinter Meeting President’s Program, Jan. 13, 2008, speaking about my greatest basketball memory, the reason I changed my name, how to get reluctant youth to read, my new book “On the Shoulders of Giants: My Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance,” and …


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Political Maelstrom

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 …


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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 …


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