Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on Fighting Bruce Lee, Growing Up in Harlem, and Basketball | Convos with Tyler
In a riveting conversation with Tyler Cowen, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the retired professional basketball player, delves into a variety of topics.
From his experiences growing up in Harlem, his encounters with Bruce Lee, to his views on segregation, Islam, and the evolution of basketball, Abdul-Jabbar provides a unique perspective on these issues.
The Evolution of the War on Drugs
The war on drugs, initially seen as racially biased, has evolved as society recognizes that drug addiction is not limited to any particular race or class.
The focus should be on saving lives and providing opportunities for those who might otherwise be driven to criminal activity due to lack of education and resources.
Modern Conservatism and Inclusivity
As a modern conservative, Abdul-Jabbar values patriotism, respect for the military, belief in capitalism, and a strong work ethic.
He believes these values should be extended to all segments of society, regardless of race or class.
The Need for Enlightenment Among Black Americans
There is a need for an enlightenment among black Americans, akin to the Enlightenment in Europe.
The American model, while being the best in the world, needs to be open to everyone, a condition that has not always been met.
The Global Influence of Jazz
Jazz is not dead, but has instead spread around the world, influencing music globally.
This is evident in the far-reaching impact of jazz, such as a saxophonist from Azerbaijan mastering all of Charlie Parker’s music.
The Gentrification of Harlem
Harlem is currently undergoing gentrification.
As the population changes, so does the ambiance of Harlem.
This change is not necessarily negative, but rather a reflection of societal progression.
I think the American model is the best in the world but in order to get everybody involved in it we have to have it open to everyone. That hasn’t always been the case. – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
The Evolution of Basketball
Basketball has evolved from a focus on two-point shots to three-point shots, influenced by players like Stephen Curry.
This shift has led to a neglect of traditional skills, such as scoring in the paint and shooting hook shots.
The Importance of Footwork in Basketball
Footwork in basketball is often overlooked by modern players.
Many players today are more interested in shooting three-pointers than in mastering the fundamentals of the game, such as footwork and positioning.
This lack of focus on fundamentals can hinder a player’s long-term success in the sport.
The Cultural Disconnect between the US and Islam
There is a cultural disconnect between the United States and Islam, attributed to the lack of an Enlightenment period in the Muslim world.
This has led to a lack of separation between church and state in many Muslim-majority countries.
The Importance of Separation of Church and State
The ideal situation in any country is to have a separation of church and state, allowing individuals to have their own moral center and spiritual beliefs.
This separation is crucial for ensuring equal opportunity and fair governance.