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Kareem  Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

NBA Legend & NY Times Best-Selling Author


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a 8x award-winning Columnist of the Year, a 6x NBA champion and the league’s only 6x MVP. For the past 38 years he was the NBA’s All-Time Leading Scorer. He is one of a handful of influential and respected black men in America who his a national platform as a regular contributing columnist for newspapers and magazines around the world, such as The Guardian, The New York Times, The LA Times and The Hollywood Reporter. Read More >

Currently he writes a bi-weekly column for kareem.substack.com where he shares his thoughts on some of the most socially relevant and politically controversial topics facing our nation today. After 50 years as an athlete and activist, he offers his perspectives as a nationally recognized speaker who regularly appears on the lecture circuit. Currently, Abdul-Jabbar serves as the chairman of his Skyhook Foundation whose mission is to “Give Kids a Shot That Can’t be Blocked” by bringing educational STEM opportunities to underserved communities through innovative outdoor environmental learning.

A New York Times best-selling author, he has written 17 books, most of which explore the often-overlooked history of African Americans, from the achievements of the Harlem Renaissance to the forgotten Black inventors who changed our daily lives. He is currently working on a series of graphic novels around social justice, the history of Los Angeles music & entertainment. Kareem is an award-winning documentary producer and 2x Emmy nominated narrator. He was featured in HBO’s most watched sports documentary of all-time, Kareem: Minority of One.

He has several television projects in development, currently, he is producing a series of specials, Black Patriots, Heroes of the Civil War, which premiered on The History Channel as well as a new docu-series called Black Cops Kid. Before leaving office, President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest honor for civilians. He is the recipient of The Ford Medal of Freedom, The Rosa Parks Award, The Double Helix Medal and Harvard University’s W.E.B. Dubois Medal of Courage.

Abdul-Jabbar holds 8 honorary doctorate degrees and is the only U.S. Cultural Ambassador; a title bestowed on him by former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Highlight Reel

On Good Day LA

A Conversation with Kareem at Kansas State University

NBA 75 stories

How Jazz Influenced My Basketball Game | Jazz Congress at Lincoln Center

On Social Justice

Politics, Racism, and Media

on Taking a Stand

On Donald Trump and Islam

Speech Topics

Finding Your Inner All-Star

From the streets of Harlem to six NBA championships to bestselling author to award-winning film producer and U.S. Cultural Ambassador, the 19-time NBA all-star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been an all-star at everything he’s attempted. With riveting and humorous detail, Abdul-Jabbar recounts his exciting evolution from street ball player to successful athlete, author, producer, and community activist. Kareem also discusses how he triumphed over CML Leukemia cancer to become healthy and cancer-free. Abdul-Jabbar’s approach to life can provide an inspirational strategy for others and provide insight to key leadership skills for success.

From Locker Room to Conference Room: Building Successful Teams

Every team Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has played on from high school to the NBA has been a winning team. Using what he’s learned during his 20 years in the pros—from his own experiences as well as from great coaches such as John Wooden—Abdul-Jabbar will cite personal examples and experiences and show how these same principles can be used to build corporate winning teams.

From Kareem to Kaepernik: A History of Political Activism in Sports

In 1968, rising star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar risked career backlash when he publicly boycotted joining the U.S. Olympic basketball team to protest the rampant racial injustice of the time. Almost fifty years later, he wrote with eloquence and conviction about Colin Kaepernik and #TakeAKnee. “I have never been prouder to be part of the athletic community,” Jabbar stated, emphasizing the important role that athletes as activists can play in political resistance to the “Trump administration’s assault on American values and constitutional civil liberties.” In this inspiring presentation, Jabbar celebrates the impact of athlete activism: Muhammad Ali’s refusal to be drafted into the Vietnam War,  the famous Black Power salute at the 1968 Summer Olympics, the 30 University of Missouri football players who threatened to boycott the season because of unaddressed racial issues on campus, #TakeAKnee and others. Noting that too many of the issues that he protested in 1968 are still with us, Jabbar, a leading member of the Anti-Defamation League’s new Sports Leadership Council, inspires athletes and non-athletes alike to stand up against injustice.

Battling Cancer with Positivity

In 2008, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was diagnosed with early stage chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). “I thought leukemia as something exotic that happened to other people,” he said. “And then, all of a sudden, it happened to me.” He immediately made his diagnosis public. After learning that the high cost of treatment sometimes means that patients do not always take their medicines, he led an awareness campaign. This was not Kareem’s first encounter with cancer. “My grandfather died from colorectal cancer, my uncle died from colorectal cancer and my father almost died from colorectal cancer,” he said. This led him, as a carrier of the gene, to get involved in a colorectal cancer awareness campaign in the African-American community. He has also traveled to Capitol Hill to encourage the government to spend more money on cancer research. Possessing the high level of knowledge, awareness and empathy that comes from being a cancer survivor, Abdul-Jabbar’s talks engage and inspire while imparting valuable information on research, prevention, the quest for a cure, and the healing power of the human spirit.

Writings on the Wall: Searching for a New Equality Beyond Black & White

The Washington Post has called Kareem Abdul-Jabbar “a vital, dynamic and unorthodox cultural voice.” In this thought-provoking keynote Kareem takes on the issues that are deeply dividing America: racism, economic inequality, social injustice, the power of the media and more. Speaking from the heart and calling upon his personal experiences as an African-American and Muslim, he focuses on the solutions that could unite us and inspires younger generations to continue the path towards change. “They need a road map of what’s possible—and how to get there,” he has said. In this his inspiring presentation, Kareem provides a blueprint for positive action.

All-Star Leadership

From the streets of Harlem to six NBA championships to best-selling author and U.S. Cultural Ambassador, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has cultivated a reputation as a strong leader, both on and off the court. He now leverages these skills to lead a productive dialog on inequality in America, advocate for STEM education and champion those fighting cancer. In this motivational speech, he shares that for every success story, there was a challenge to overcome through discipline, perseverance, patience and sometimes, harsh introspection. He also cites the influence of great coaches, such as John Wooden, in shaping his concept of leadership. Bringing unforgettable stories and inspiring examples, Abdul-Jabbar connects with audiences from all walks of life.

Friendship & Mentorship: Creating Bonds for Success

Based on his memoir, Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off the Court, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar explores one of the most enduring and meaningful relationships in sports history, sharing lessons that will translate to any business. The two icons first met when Wooden coached Kareem as a young player at UCLA. They reconnected years later when Kareem returned to Southern California to play for the Lakers, and they continued to grow closer until Wooden’s death in 2010 at age 99. Kareem told the Chicago Tribune, "our relationship evolved from being a mentor and father figure to being a friend, a co-traveler in life." In this keynote, Kareem discusses how their relationship explored the complex issues of race, wins, losses and pressure to succeed, as well as what everyone can learn from their remarkable friendship.