Kareem Abdul Jabbar with New Documentary

February 17, 2011 by  


By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

KAJ

Hall-of-Fame basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been visiting select cities across America for screenings of his new basketball documentary. The six-time NBA MVP wrote a book about the Harlem Renaissance Big Five, also known as the Harlem Rens. This was a basketball team comprised of African-Americans who fought to be a part of the game, only to be stifled by the racism of 1930’s America. The book chronicles the Rens as they worked their way toward playing in the first non-segregated basketball championship in 1939 against a team from Wisconsin. The book has now become a documentary entitled “On the Shoulders of Giants.” Abdul-Jabbar has been screening the movie at high schools on both coasts, including the Harlem section of New York where he grew up.

“The film has all the things I love,” Abdul-Jabbar told the Associate Press. “It has basketball, jazz music and the history of African-American people. I think the film came out really well. I’m happy with it…The main reason why I did the film is that it is enabling me to make the transition from a jock,” he said, “and give me credibility as a scholar and a filmmaker. I’m going to continue to make that work.”

Abdul-Jabbar also recently addressed the status of his cancer. He was diagnosed with a form of leukemia, called Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia or CML, in 2008. “My cancer right now is at an absolute minimum,” he reported. “It’s not life-threatening at this point in my life…Medical science has made great strides over the last 20 years,” he said. “People in my position are able to live their lives to the fullest. I’m very grateful for that. I’m lucky that they caught it in enough time, and I’ve responded well to the medication. If not for the success that medicine has made, I might be part of a much different story right now.” He has been so impressed with the medication that he is taking, called Gleevec, that he has become a spokesperson for the pharmaceutical company that manufactures it, Novartis.

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