Saturday, June 16, 2007

Abdul-Jabbar Tells UCLA Grads To Lead Significant Lives

By The Associated Press

The secret to his success was simple,
basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar told graduating seniors Friday
at UCLA.

"There's a ball. There's a hoop. You put the ball through the
hoop," joked the most prolific scorer in NBA history.

Then he turned serious, advising graduates to do as he did and
pursue careers that will bring them both joy and improve the lives
of others.

After he retired from basketball following 20 seasons in the
NBA, the former UCLA star said he was frequently asked what he
wanted to do with the rest of his life.

"With my witty charm, great body, and pivotal role in the film
"Airplane!" I could have become governor," he joked.

Instead, he said, "I did what no one expected."

The Hall of Famer, who earned a history degree at UCLA, wrote
books that promoted the lives of forgotten people of color. He also
spent time coaching an Indian reservation basketball team.

These days he's on the coaching staff of the NBA team he
achieved his greatest glory with, the Los Angeles Lakers. And he
still appears in movies, on TV and in commercials.

It's that balance between doing things that are fun and those
that are important that makes life worthwhile, the 60-year-old
former center said.

"I'm not claiming that you have to sell all your worldly
possessions, wander the globe in rags, and, worse, cancel HBO," he
quipped. "You should embrace and celebrate your pleasures."

"But also prove that you are worthy of being successful by
making yourself significant."

Abdul-Jabbar led UCLA to three NCAA titles under coach John
Wooden in the 1960s.



At Jun 16, 2007, 6:10:00 AM, Anonymous JonW said...

It's nice to see the lighter and humorous side of this legendary great. Great to see him still involved with the school!


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