He’s the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, a 6-time NBA champion and that’s just the short list of statistics that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar can claim.
Off the court, his accomplishments are perhaps even more meaningful. Abdul-Jabbar received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016, has received widespread acclaim for his writing about everything from race and religion to pop culture, and is the author of nearly a dozen published books including autobiographies, historical non-fiction, novels and now, a memoir all about his relationship with legendary basketball coach John Wooden (Coach Wooden and Me).
He’s also Surviving & Thriving, living with a chronic form of leukemia as well as recovering from a quadruple coronary bypass surgery performed on his 68th birthday.
We spoke with the 70-year-old about the life lessons Wooden gave him, how they still resonate today and what he wants people to know about overcoming obstacles of any kind.