Kareem Abdul Jabbar and HBO present “Kareem: Minority of One.”
NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s highly anticipated documentary “Kareem:Minority of One” will debut on HBO on Nov. 3.
Produced by Mike Tollin and Deborah Morales, Kareem: Minority of One focuses on an athlete who had success on and off the court and has overcome many obstacles over the years. This exclusive HBO presentation will mark the first time Abdul Jabbar has participated in a documentary sharing his life story since he retired from the NBA.
Tollin, says the film “will reveal the complexity and genius of Kareem both on and off the court. By his own admission, Abdul Jabbar has had a complicated and occasionally hostile relationship with the media. This is a unique opportunity to tell all sides of his story.”
Born Ferdinand Lewis (Lew) Alcindor, Jr. Abdul Jabbar led his high school team to three consecutive New York City Catholic Championships. After high school, Abdul Jabbar headed to UCLA to play under the coaching staff of John Wooden. During his time at UCLA, he dominated college basketball and was the two-time Player of the Year (1967, 1969) and three-time First-Team All-American (1967-69).
He also set multiple UCLA records including highest scoring average (29 points per game) and most points in a single game (61). Abdul Jabbar and the Bruins won three consecutive NCAA championships.
He is currently still the only player in history to be named Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament three years in a row and was awarded the first Naismith College Player of the Year Award. Due to the slam-dunk being banned, Kareem crafted one of the most remarkable collegiate careers in history with his signature skyhook shot.
Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s success continued despite his retirement from the NBA. He’s appeared in dozens of TV shows and movies and written 11 books. Many of them have been New York times bestsellers including his latest book, “Mycroft Holmes”. In June 2012, Hilary Clinton appointed him Cultural Ambassador of the United States. He currently serves as a regular contributing columnist for TIME magazine.
Kareem: Minority of One will give viewers the chance to see Kareem Abdul Jabbar as more than an athlete. He’s a son, friend, jazz lover, intellect, and family orientated man with strong beliefs and a person with a genuine heart.
The Knockturnal was on the red carpet at the Time Warner Center. Read our exclusive interviews below:
Kareem Abdul Jabbar
What made you wait this long to tell your story on this type of platform?
I’ve had so many questions about what I did and why I did it. People have speculated to what that was all about so I decided to let them hear it from the source and why I did what I did during my career.
What’s one thing about this documentary that we’ll learn about you that we didn’t know before?
I don’t know. Maybe, why I take some of the stances that I take.
What was it like to work with producer Mike Tollin?
I thought Mike Tollin was great to work with. He had a decent idea of how we wanted to tell the story and we tried to figure out how to tell it in a way that everybody was happy with.
What’s some advice you can give to rookies as far as not getting caught up with the fame and fortune?
I would tell rookies to just be patient, figure out what they want to do with their life when they’re not playing. Which is probably something they haven’t thought about and if they start thinking about it now they’ll make a good choice when that time comes.
How excited are you about this film?
I’m so excited. I respect Kareem so much.
What was your favorite part about this film?
We got to shoot a celebrity softball game and I got to play short stop with Magic Johnson pitching, Smokey Robinson playing second, and Kareem playing first. That was a thrill but just working along side one of the All-Time Greats not just in basketball but it sports and learning so many new things about him and how board are his interests and his expertise and seeing what a renaissance man Kareem is.
What’s it like watching Kareem have this type of platform to tell his story?
He’s a well deserving person first and foremost. He’s a legend in the game of basketball and a humanitarian in the game of life. For him to get his personal story out there because over the years so much has been written about him. Not sure if it’s true or false but now he get’s a chance to put it out there and we get to know a little more about Kareem.
Can you share with us one of your favorite moments with Kareem?
I got a chance to play against him when I first came in the league. I also got a chance to personally spend time with him when I was going over seas and he was doing a clinic over there. I got a chance to sit down and talk to him and whenever you get a chance to talk to guys you look up to and they start telling you about basketball and the game. You really get a good perspective about the game and who that person is. That was probably one of my most memorable moments because you never get that opportunity to do that.
How do you feel about this upcoming basketball season?
I feel good about it. I think the team (Knicks) is looking good this year. I think that Phil (Jackson) did a good job in bringing some solid players in. The team is really starting to figure out one another out there on the court and you have to have that closeness on the court as well as off the court. It seems like they like one another and that’s the most important thing and Melo (Carmelo Anthony) is back so we’re excited about that.
How do you feel about Kareem getting this opportunity to tell his story?
I feel it’s awesome because Kareem is a very intelligent man. He’s a very deep thinker and reflective man. He knows history of sport, man, jazz; he’s a very versatile person. I think that when he gets an opportunity like this it shows the full man. It also gives the rest of us to see the full man and also makes us think about the things that are going on in our society that we need to think about and the things that are more important than fame and fortune. It’s about our humanity and the people we can count on and Kareem brings all that when he does something like this.
Can you speak on your favorite moments with Kareem?
My favorite is when we played them in the play offs and beat them 4-0 but I’ve had a lot of moments with him. I never got the opportunity to play with him, when we were in the all-star game he broke his hand and couldn’t play. When we went overseas he was on another team, we never played with each other but always against each other. I respect him as a player but I respect him more as a man.
A fabulous dinner party followed at Porter House New York.
Kareem: Minority of One will Air on HBO Tuesday Nov. 3 10:00 ET.