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Inside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's Intriguing Second Act

How the NBA's all-time leading scorer reinvented himself

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If you're under the age of 30, there's a decent chance that you're familiar with the name Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. But it might have nothing to do with the fact that he's the NBA's all-time Scoring leader, or that he was one of the most recognizable figures in sports not too long ago, thanks to his patented skyhook jumpshot and the sport goggles/rec specs that defined his entire look.

 

Since hanging it up, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has enjoyed a prolific second act as a writer and personality with a diverse array of interests. He's recapped The Bachelor for The Hollywood Reporter  and written a popular series of novels set in the Sherlock Holmes literary universe. (He authored a comic book set in that universe, as well.) Currently, he's a staff writer on Hulu's Veronica Mars reboot, which is something that takes a moment to process. By using more conventional autobiography as a jumping-off point for more unconventional writing projects, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has found success experimenting and covering subjects he's passionate about.

While KAJ is in his 70s, he displays a modern emotional relationship with the pro sport that made him a household name. While basketball has opened business doors for him, it's not the totality of his identity. Recently, he sold most of his personal memorabilia—including four of his six championship rings—for around $3M, with most of the proceeds benefitting his Skyhook Foundation, a charity committed to youth education and STEM initiatives.

 

"When it comes to choosing between storing a championship ring or trophy in a room or providing kids with an opportunity to change their lives, the choice is pretty simple: Sell it all," Abdul-Jabbar told ESPN.

 

Overall, Abdul-Jabbar sets a pathway for future athletes and entrepreneurs to follow—and also, no one is ever touching that scoring record.


 

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