Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is one of the greatest basketball players of all time: an NBA Hall of Famer, six-time MVP, 19-time All-Star, the master of the skyhook shot and a key part of the Showtime era Lakers.
He grew up in New York City and was destined for basketball greatness. By the time he was in the eighth grade, he was pushing 7 feet tall and could already dunk a basketball. During his high school career, he scored a record number of points and led his team to three straight championships.
He went on to play college ball at UCLA, and in 1969 he was drafted first overall to the Milwaukee Bucks. He played with them for six seasons, and in 1975 he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. He was a key part of the legendary Showtime-era Lakers alongside Magic Johnson. He spent 14 seasons in LA and retired from basketball in 1989 at age 42.
Since retiring from basketball, Abdul-Jabbar has written books, columns and even worked as a writer for Veronica Mars. When we talked with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar last year, he’d just narrated a documentary: Fight the Power: The Movements That Changed America.
We’ll revisit our conversation with the NBA legend. Kareem discusses playing alongside Magic Johnson, his roller disco days, and so much more. Plus, he shares why he was never able to play a game of Double Dutch as a kid
A version of this interview originally aired in June of 2021.
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Bullseye is a celebration of the best of arts and culture in public radio form. Host Jesse Thorn sifts the wheat from the chaff to bring you in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary minds in our culture.
Bullseye has been featured in Time, The New York Times, GQ and McSweeney’s, which called it “the kind of show people listen to in a more perfect world.” Since April 2013, the show has been distributed by NPR.
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