OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was in Oakland on Wednesday to meet with a pair of state championship basketball teams.
The Oakland High School boys’ basketball team and Oakland Tech High School’s girls’ basketball team each won state titles earlier in March. The former Los Angeles Laker took photos with the teams and gave out autographed copies of his book; On the Shoulders of Giants: My Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance.
“I think for the students, it’s very important that they get recognized for something positive,” he said. “So I was real happy to come up here and reinforce that and talk to them about what they’re going to do for the rest of their life, cause that’s the most important part now.”
Abdul-Jabbar gave the high schoolers words of encouragement and spoke about the importance of education.
“Extraordinary models of social justice inspire us to do better and be better,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. “There are few that rival the inspiration of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who has held up a torch to tirelessly lead the way to better educational opportunities for all of California’s students.”
KRON ON is streaming news live now
Abdul-Jabbar is a six-time NBA MVP and a six-time league champion. He was the NBA’s all-time leading scorer until LeBron James broke his record in February. In addition to his on-court accolades, Abdul-Jabbar is active as an activist and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama in 2016.
KRON4’s Erin Wilson sat down with Abdul-Jabbar for an exclusive interview. Tune in to KRON4’s Hoop Session at 10:30 p.m. on Sunday for that.