Los Angeles Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has one of the more fascinating career arcs in sports. Way back in 1967, while playing for John Wooden's UCLA juggernaut and then known as Lew Alcindor, the NCAA tried to slow down Kareem by outlawing dunking (it did not work).
Undeterred, he won three NCAA championships at UCLA, and then he went on to become a six-time champion in the NBA. He's also been a champion for racial equality, having boycotted the 1968 Olympics to protest discrimination. He has scored the most points in NBA history. He is, obviously, in the Basketball Hall of Fame. Point is: he could have very easily called it a career and ridden off into the sunset, comfortable with his legacy.
Instead, he's continued to speak out against discrimination and is a frequent op-ed contributor to the Huffington Post, Washington Post, The Guardian, Time, and other outlets. He has also written a Sherlock Holmes-inspired novelabout the detective's brother, Mycroft. And now, he is adding television screenwriter to his long and varied resume.
Rob Thomas, the creator of Veronica Mars, not the "Smooth" guy, announced the staff for the upcoming reboot (or continuation or whatever we are calling these things these days) of the cult classic and that giant man on the right is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
It is amazing to see where this man's life has taken him, but not at all surprising. We often reduce athletes to the finished products we see on television; the athletic feats we could never in a million years be capable of ourselves. It's easy to forget, though, the insane drive required to not only make it in professional sports and find maybe a modicum of success, but to thoroughly dominate in the way Abdul-Jabbar did. That takes an entirely different level of passion and commitment and engagement. When you retire, that doesn't just go away, it's got to be channeled somewhere, and Kareem has let his creative juices flow.
Still if you told me during the show's heyday, that the guy who perfected this—
—would go on to one day write for the beloved teen mystery drama once featured on the same channel as Dawson's Creek, I would have had an easier time believing Donald Trump became President of the United States.