Kareem Abdul-Jabbar : biography
Abdul-Jabbar has worked as an assistant for the LA Clippers and the Seattle SuperSonics, helping mentor, among others, their young centers, Michael Olowokandi and Jerome James. Abdul-Jabbar was the head coach of the Oklahoma Storm of the United States Basketball League in 2002, leading the team to the league’s championship that season, but he failed to land the head coaching position at Columbia University a year later. He then worked as a scout for the New York Knicks. Finally, on September 2, 2005, he returned to the Lakers as a special assistant to Phil Jackson to help the Lakers’ centers, and in particular their young draftee Andrew Bynum. Abdul-Jabbar’s influence has been credited with Bynum’s emergence as a more talented NBA center. Abdul-Jabbar has also served as a volunteer coach at Alchesay High School on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation in Whiteriver, Arizona in 1998.
Abdul-Jabbar was born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor, Jr., on April 16, 1947, and grew up in Harlem in New York City, the only child of Cora Lillian, a department store price checker, and Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor, Sr., a transit police officer and jazz musician. At birth, he weighed 12 pounds, 10 ounces (5.73 kg), and was twenty-two-and-a-half inches (57.2 cm) long. He was raised as a Roman Catholic and attended St. Jude School in the Inwood section of Manhattan. In the summer of 1968, while attending UCLA, he took the Shahada twice and converted to Sunni Islam.
From an early age he began his record-breaking basketball accomplishments. In high school, he led Power Memorial Academy to three straight New York City Catholic championships, a 71-game winning streak, and a 79–2 overall record.
Film and television
Playing in Los Angeles facilitated Abdul-Jabbar’s trying his hand at acting. He made his film debut in Bruce Lee’s 1972 film Game of Death, in which his character Hakim fights Billy Lo (played by Lee).
In 1980, he played co-pilot Roger Murdock in Airplane!. Abdul-Jabbar has a scene in which a little boy looks at him and remarks that he is in fact Abdul-Jabbar—spoofing the appearance of football star Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch as an airplane pilot in the 1957 drama Zero Hour!. Staying in character, Abdul-Jabbar states that he is merely Roger Murdock, an airline co-pilot, but the boy continues to insist that Abdul-Jabbar is "the greatest", but that, according to his father, he doesn’t "work hard on defense" and "never really tries, except during the playoffs". This causes Abdul-Jabbar’s character to snap, "The hell I don’t!", then grab the boy and snarl he has "heard that crap since UCLA", he "busts his buns every night" and the boy should tell his "old man to drag [Bill] Walton and [Bob] Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes". When Murdock loses consciousness later in the film, he is carried from the cockpit wearing Abdul-Jabbar’s goggles and yellow Lakers’ shorts.
Abdul-Jabbar has had numerous other television and film appearances, often playing himself, including appearances in the movies Fletch, Troop Beverly Hills and Forget Paris, the sitcoms Full House, Living Single, Amen, Everybody Loves Raymond, Martin, Diff’rent Strokes (his height humorously contrasted with that of diminutive child star Gary Coleman), The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Scrubs, 21 Jump Street and Emergency!. Jabbar played a genie in lamp in a 1984 episode of Tales From The Darkside. In 2012 he made a guest appearance as himself on the TV Series New Girl. He also played himself on the February 10, 1994 episode of the sketch comedy television series In Living Color.http://www.seplis.com/person/kareem-abdul-jabbar/231892/in-living-color/1788/episodes.php/
He also appeared in the television version of Stephen King’s The Stand, played the Archangel of Basketball in Slam Dunk Ernest, and a brief non-speaking cameo appearance in BASEketball. Abdul-Jabbar was also the co-executive producer of the 1994 TV movie The Vernon Johns Story. He has also made appearances on The Colbert Report, in a 2006 skit called "HipHopKetball II: The ReJazzebration Remix ’06" and in 2008 as a stage manager who is sent out on a mission to find Nazi Gold. On Al Jazeera English he expressed his desire to be remembered not just as a player, but somebody who had many talents and used them.