Q+A Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

March 10, 2003
March 10, 2003

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March 10, 2003

Q+A Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

The NBA Hall of Famer, who coached the USBL's Oklahoma Storm last
season, is now an analyst on CBS Sports's college basketball

This is an article from the March 10, 2003 issue Original Layout

SI: When you played you saw yourself as a Miles Davis or John
Coltrane, someone who was a great soloist. How do you see
yourself now?

Abdul-Jabbar: Now my hero is Count Basie. When you coach, you
realize what it means to try and get a whole lot of people
together with different personalities and get them to perform
well night in and night out.

SI: You've said that Muslims should "reach out and explain that
the Bin Laden people use religion as an excuse for political
aims." Can you do that as a network basketball analyst?

Abdul-Jabbar: I don't know if I can overtly reach out like that
as an analyst, to just come out and make pronouncements. But I
hope that people will see that I am a patriotic American and that
my [Muslim] beliefs have nothing to do with what these Bin Laden
people are talking about.

SI: If the coaching job at UCLA, your alma mater, opens up, will
you pursue that position?

Abdul-Jabbar: Yes.

SI: Do you think they would consider you?

Abdul-Jabbar: I think they will. I don't have an extensive
history of coaching but I coached a team to a championship last
year in the USBL and I know a lot about winning on every level.
So I think that would get me in the door.

SI: You babysat for little Brandon Lee, Bruce Lee's son, when the
boy lived in Beverly Hills in the 1970s. Were you a good

Abdul-Jabbar: I was a very good babysitter. I used to let Brandon
beat me up.

SI: Does anyone still call you Lewis?

Abdul-Jabbar: Just Coach Wooden. Every now and then he'll slip.

SI: Los Angeles Times columnist Jim Murray once wrote: 'No man is
an island, but Kareem gave it a shot.' Have you finally come off
the island?

Abdul-Jabbar: Oh, definitely. The island, that's not a good place
to be, but I thought I could do that and play the professional
game and not be bothered. I was wrong. --Richard Deitsch

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