Newsmaker: Kareem ­Abdul-Jabbar

news4

In the 1980 film Airplane!, the basketball legend Kareem ­Abdul-Jabbar plays the co-pilot Roger Murdock to Peter Graves’s captain Clarence Oveur. In one scene of the beloved oddball comedy, a child tells Abdul-­Jabbar’s Murdock character: “Wait a minute. I know you. You’re Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. You play basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers.”

“I’m sorry, son, but you must have me confused with someone else. My name is Roger Murdock. I’m the co-pilot,” ­Abdul-Jabbar tells the child.

Back and forth they banter, with the child insisting that the co-pilot is ­Abdul-Jabbar and Abdul-Jabbar insisting he’s Murdock, until the child tells him: “My dad says you don’t work hard enough on defence. And he says that lots of times, you don’t even run down court. And that you don’t really try … except during the play-offs.”

Finally, Abdul-Jabbar breaks character.

“Listen, kid! I’ve been hearing that ever since I was at UCLA. I’m out there busting my buns every night. Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 ­minutes.”

It’s funny because in 1980, ­Abdul-Jabbar was one of the most instantly recognisable faces in America for his exploits with the Lakers. It still resonates nearly 35 years later, because given his pursuits after basketball, if he had wanted to be a pilot, he probably could have done it.

It takes a truly larger-than-life figure to develop a celebrated public career in acting, writing, advocacy and even statesmanship, all after a basketball career that included more points and minutes played than ­anyone else in the history of the game.

It also helps to stand 7 feet, 2 inches (218 centimetres) tall…

Read Full Article at The National

Follow Kareem

Latest Tweets

Latest Facebook Posts

Congratulations to Frank Kaminsky on winning the inaugural Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Best College Center Award
#ESPN
... See MoreSee Less

Thank you Wells Fargo for sponsoring the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award. I am very excited to present this inaugural award tonight to a guy that I personally voted for & believe that he will also make it as a top pro player in the NBA.

ESPN will close out the 2014-15 college basketball season with a new one-hour awards show tonight, April 10, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2. In coordination with the Los Angeles Athletic Club and Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, the first-ever COLLEGE BASKETBALL AWARDS Presented by Wendy's the program will celebrate the season's top players and moments with the live announcement of eight awards.

Awards on the show:

John R. Wooden Award
Men's Player of the Year

John R. Wooden Award
Women's Player of the Year

John R. Wooden Award
LEGENDS of Coaching

Bob Cousy
Point Guard of the Year Award

Jerry West
Shooting Guard of the Year Award

Julius Erving
Small Forward of the Year Award

Karl Malone
Power Forward of the Year Award

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Center of the Year Award
... See MoreSee Less

Categories

Career Highlights