Kareem Abdul-Jabbar


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar : biography

1947-4-16 –

Non-athletic honors

  • Double Helix Medal (2011)

As author

Abdul-Jabbar is also a best-selling author. His first book, his autobiography Giant Steps, was written in 1983 with co-author Peter Knobler. (The book’s title is an homage to jazz great John Coltrane.) His latest is On the Shoulders of Giants: My Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance, co-written with Raymond Obstfeld. His previous book, Brothers In Arms: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion, WWII’s "Forgotten Heroes, co-written with Anthony Walton, is a history of an all-black armored unit that served with distinction in Europe.


  • Giant Steps, with Peter Knobler (1983) ISBN 0-553-05044-3
  • Kareem, with Mignon McCarthy (1990) ISBN 0-394-55927-4
  • Selected from Giant Steps (Writers’ Voices) (1999) ISBN 0-7857-9912-5
  • Black Profiles in Courage: A Legacy of African-American Achievement, with Alan Steinberg (1996) ISBN 0-688-13097-6
  • A Season on the Reservation: My Sojourn with the White Mountain Apaches, with Stephen Singular (2000) ISBN 0-688-17077-3
  • Brothers in Arms: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion, WWII’s Forgotten Heroes with Anthony Walton (2004) ISBN 978-0-7679-0913-6
  • On the Shoulders of Giants: My Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance with Raymond Obstfeld (2007) ISBN 978-1-4165-3488-4
  • What Color Is My World? The Lost History of African American Inventors with Raymond Obstfeld (2012) ISBN 978-0-7636-4564-9

Audio Book:

  • On the Shoulders of Giants: An Audio Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance 8 CD Set Vol. 1–4, with Avery Brooks, Jesse L. Martin, Maya Angelou, Herbie Hancock, Billy Crystal, Charles Barkley, James Worthy, Julius Erving, Jerry West, Clyde Drexler, Bill Russell, Coach John Wooden, Stanley Crouch, Quincy Jones and other chart-topping musicians, as well as legendary actors and performers such as Samuel L. Jackson. (2008) ISBN 978-0-615-18301-5

In 2007, Abdul-Jabbar participated in the national UCLA alumni commercial entitled "My Big UCLA Moment." The UCLA commercial is featured on YouTube.

On February 10, 2011, Abdul-Jabbar debuted his film On the Shoulders of Giants, documenting the tumultuous journey of the famed yet often-overlooked Harlem Renaissance professional basketball team, at Science Park High School in Newark, NJ. The event was simulcasted live throughout the school, city, and state.

Cultural ambassador

In January 2012, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that Abdul-Jabbar had accepted a position as a cultural ambassador for the United States.Beck, Howard. . January 18, 2012. The New York Times. During the announcement press conference, Abdul-Jabbar commented on the historical legacy of African-Americans as representatives of US culture: "I remember when Louis Armstrong first did it back for President Kennedy, one of my heroes. So it’s nice to be following in his footsteps.". US Department of State. January 18, 2012.

Athletic honors

  • Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (May 15, 1995)
  • College:
    • Player of the Year (1967, 1969)
    • Three-time First Team All-American (1967–69)
    • Three-time NCAA champion (1967–69)
    • Most Outstanding Player in NCAA Tournament (1967–69)
    • Naismith College Player of the Year (1969)
    • National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame (2007)JOHN MARSHALL: Associated Press. November 18, 2007.
  • National Basketball Association:
    • Rookie of the Year (1970)
    • Six-time NBA champion (1971, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987–88)
    • NBA MVP (1971–72, 1974, 1976–77, 1980)
    • Sporting News NBA MVP (1971–72, 1974, 1976–77, 1980)
    • Finals MVP (1971, 1985)
    • Sports Illustrated magazine’s "Sportsman of the Year" (1985)
    • One of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History (1996)
    • First player in NBA history to play 20 seasons
    • #7 in SLAM Magazine’s Top 50 NBA Players of all time in 2009.