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Quotes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on accomplishments, childhood, winning, basketball, teamwork, sports and more.

178 Inspiring Quotes By Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Famous As: Basketball Player, Basketball Coach
Born On: April 16, 1947
Born In: New York City, New York

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a prominent American former professional basketball player. He played twenty seasons for the ‘Los Angeles Lakers,’ and ‘Milwaukee Bucks,’ in the ‘National Basketball Association.’ During his career as a centre, he has been a 15-time ‘All-NBA selection,’ six-time ‘NBA Most Valuable Player,’ 11-time ‘NBA-Defensive Team,’ and 19-time ‘NBA All-Star.’ He has also been a best-selling author and actor besides being a basketball coach. He was awarded the ‘Presidential Medal of Freedom’ by ‘President Barack Obama’ in 2016. Here is a list of quotes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on sports, basketball, sacrifice, success, accomplishments, winning, leader, learn, soul, achieve, history, people, belief, home, magic, nature, effort, etc.

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All the courage and competitiveness of Jackie Robinson affects me to this day. If I patterned my life after anyone it was him, not because he was the first black baseball player in the majors but because he was a hero.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Ken Heitz got drafted by the Bucks the same year I did. He went to their camp just for the experience, then dropped out to attend Harvard Law School. I always admired his combination of athleticism and brains.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

A lot of young players don't really know much about the history of the game and a lot of them are missing out on what the game is all about, especially the whole concept of sportsmanship and teamwork.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

The only reason is that I hadn't seen The Modern Jazz Quartet perform live and a live performance is often where the real experience of jazz takes place. I'm not familiar with the Boswell Sisters.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

The word 'leukemia' is a very frightening word. In many instances, it's a killer and it's something that you have to deal with in a very serious and determined way if you're going to beat it.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I read that Hollywood wanted to film Fences years ago with a white director, but [August] Wilson refused. He thought that the director needed to have lived the culture of black Americans.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Common decency demands that [NCAA athletes] should be paid, but the only way it will happen is the same way workers got paid throughout American history, through a strong union.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

When I was at UCLA, the Harlem Globetrotters offered me a million dollars to come play for them. I turned it down because my education was just as important as playing ball.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

When I traveled through Greece in the '90s, everything [Albert Hoxie] taught me came flooding back and I was able to appreciate the art and culture much more because of him.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

The '80s made up for all the abuse I took during the '70s. I outlived all my critics. By the time I retired, everybody saw me as a venerable institution. Things do change.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Sports and entertainment are the only places where inner-city kids see themselves being able to succeed. Their intellectual development is something they don't relate to.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

The lifespan of most professional athletes is relatively short, and most have no preparation for doing anything after their career ends, which it could in an instant.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I want people to understand that I intend to continue living and doing all the things that I love to do up until the end. And the end is by no means rushing up on me.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

We can learn from mistakes of others, whether they're kings or our parents. When we do learn those lessons, we're better equipped to make our own dreams come true.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

There are a lot of authors in the world, so it's difficult to find a unique niche to present your take on things. That is always a challenge for any author.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

UCLA acknowledged this shift by bringing in Alex Haley (the co-author of The Autobiography of Malcolm X) and Eldridge Cleaver (Soul on Ice) as speakers.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Lakers were able to maintain a certain level of talent and success and so were the Celtics. So after awhile it became part of people's sports lore...

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I had a moment like that with Wilt (Chamberlain). He knocked me out of bounds, I came back and faked him, came across the middle and dunked on him.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

For me, the bold jazz of John Coltrane and Miles Davis reflected the bold attitude in African-Americans finding their political identity and voice.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

My mother had to send me to the movies with my birth certificate, so that I wouldn't have to pay the extra fifty cents that the adults had to pay.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Either because I was an athlete or because I was black - probably both - there seemed to be a clear assumption that I wouldn't be up to the work.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I try to do the right thing at the right time. They may just be little things, but usually they make the difference between winning and losing.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

You have to be able to center yourself, to let all of your emotions go... Don't ever forget that you play with your soul as well as your body.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

You got guys now declaring they're ready to play pro ball in their second or third year of high school. It's crazy! They're missing so much.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I did a book in 1996, an overview of black history. In that process I became more aware of a lot of the black inventors of the 19th century.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

He doesn't necessarily have to learn the sky hook. He just has to learn how to be an effective post player. I think I can help him do that.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

In athletics there's always been a willingness to cheat if it looks like you're not cheating. I think that's just a quirk of human nature.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I think race has been a burden for black Americans. Being Muslim has also been a challenge because so many people do not understand Islam.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I'm not comfortable being preachy, but more people need to start spending as much time in the library as they do on the basketball court.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

What I learned in my time isn't necessarily being taught now, and I'd like to help impart that knowledge to a new generation of players.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I'm still my parent's child, I'm still me, but I made a choice. I evolved into Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. I think it has to do with evolution.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I would suggest that teachers show their students concrete examples of the negative effects of the actions that gangsta rappers glorify.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

In a typical history book, black Americans are mentioned in the context of slavery or civil rights. There's so much more to the story.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

People still cheat on their wives, that hasn't fallen out of fashion. We all speak of it badly, but it has not fallen out of fashion.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Your best athletes might give basketball a try just when they think, geez, this might be something that pays off for me in the end.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I've kept in touch with many of my former teammates: Bob Marcucci was our team manager and we bonded over our passion for baseball.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

If I hadn't become a professional basketball player, I would have become a history teacher. There's so much to learn from history.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I think someone should explain to the child that it's OK to make mistakes. That's how we learn. When we compete, we make mistakes.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I have been coaching recently. I coached high school basketball in Arizona, and I hope that more opportunities become available.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

There are rap groups that have a positive outlook in their art. These groups should be shown as an alternative to gangsta rap.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I feel that Dennis Rodman has become a problem. He will be more of a problem than an asset. Of course, he can prove me wrong.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Great players are willing to give up their own personal achievement for the achievement of the group. It enhances everybody.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I was latching on to something that was part of my heritage, because many of the slaves who were brought here were Moslems.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Justice should be blind especially color-blind and able to fairly deal with the very real need for honest law enforcement.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

When I was a kid, no one would believe anything positive that you could say about black people. That's a terrible burden.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Five guys on the court working together can achieve more than five talented individuals who come and go as individuals.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Alexander Hamilton realized that warfare was part and parcel of human nature, and it's something we had to prepare for.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I think people that are, you know, voting in the blind are doing a disservice to America by not being better informed.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

The disconnect lasted too long. I think people got the idea I was sullen and couldn't communicate, which wasn't true.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

My grandfather and my uncle both died from colorectal cancer, my dad almost died from it and I have the gene for it.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Culture and politics were inseparable [in the Sixties], which gave a soundtrack to political awareness and activism.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

When you're a coach you've got to go up the ladder, you've got to be ready to travel. That's the nature of coaching

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Michael Jordan and Magic and myself, all learned how to play the game in college programs that emphasized the team.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

During 1866 and 1922, Native Americans and black soldiers often intermingled in the American west, on the frontier.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Reporters used to ask me the same inane questions year-in and year-out, city-to-city, and it would drive me crazy.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

OK, I'll put it like this: I doubt if we will see another All-American basketball athlete who is a Rhodes Scholar.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Today's youth are told to get rich or die trying and they really shouldn't take that attitude forward with them.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

The transition was difficult. It's hard to stop something that you've enjoyed and that has been very rewarding.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Yoga is somewhat hard to quantify in terms of benefits because you see them in all the injuries you don't get.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

As brilliant an individual that Michael Jordan was, he was not successful until he got with a good team unit.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Jackie Robinson, as an athlete and as someone who was trying to make a stand for equality, he was exemplary.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I think black Americans expect too much from individual black Americans in terms of changing the status quo.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I feel that there has been progress made since I was a boy on matters of race, but we have a long way to go.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

A lot of players think the game is all about individual performances when it's really all about a team game.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I think the NBA players have to be held accountable in a reasonable way, just like any other professionals.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I felt that a number of people might have questioned my loyalty, but I continue to be a patriotic American.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

The rivalry between the Lakers and Celtics endured for about eight years, and the interest grew each year.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I want to do as little as possible when I finish playing ball - just spend a lot more time with my family.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I love basketball, but playing basketball doesn't fully define who I am. I was always a good student, too.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Fundamental preparation is always effective. Work on those parts of your game that are fundamentally weak.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I have always thought that writers come with any variety of attributes. Some are capable and some aren't.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Black people don't have an accurate idea of their history, which has been either suppressed or distorted.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

What I have is P.H. positive chronic myeloid leukemia, which is an aberration in your white blood cells.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I think a lot of people, if they get the opportunity to do some acting, they think, 'I might be a star.'

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

We want to show how hip-hop, which kind of fuels today's basketball stars, is directly related to jazz.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

With 300 million people in America, you can fail to impress 299 million of them and still go platinum.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

What we need are positive, realistic goals and the willingness to work. Hard work and practical goals.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I've had enough success for two lifetimes, My success is talent put together with hard work and luck.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I always thought I could do a good job coaching, but the opportunities have not presented themselves.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

When a rap song glorifies violence, death and sadness and loss is inflicted because of the violence.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

It's hard for young players to see the big picture. They just see three or four years down the road.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I'm not exaggerating when I say that the 761st was Patton's best tank unit and nobody knew about it.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

If not for the success that medicine has made, I might be part of a much different story right now.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I tell kids to pursue their basketball dreams, but I tell them to not let that be their only dream.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I needed to go to class; I needed to go to practice; I needed to have a life away from basketball.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

As a parent, I have a job as a role model to my children, and by extension, to other young people.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

This is what I would have done if I had to have a real job: I would have been a history teacher.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

When we went up against teams that were better, I just hoped that we could steal the victories.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

When the line started to blur between the fans and the players, sometimes things can get ugly.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Kobe's an incredibly talented athlete, and there are many more like him among today's players.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I am highly offended by the total lack of acknowledgement of my contribution to Laker success.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I'm not going to emphasize the sky-hook as much as work with the specific skills of the guys.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Some stuff can be fixed, some stuff can’t be. Deciding which is which is part of maturing.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I was getting hot flashes and sweats on a regular basis. That's not normal, even for my age.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I can do something else besides stuff a ball through a hoop. My biggest resource is my mind.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

A team will always appreciate a great individual if he's willing to sacrifice for the group.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

The constant expansion has diluted the talent. Other than that, it's still the same game.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I need about three seats lengthwise to sleep on a plane. It's not easy for me to curl up.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

[Coaching] is a difficult job which everyone who owns a TV thinks they can do better at.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

I think that the good and the great are only separated by the willingness to sacrifice.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

The Lakers fans have been great, even folks in the supermarket are welcoming me back.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

High school dropouts are forfeiting their opportunity to pursue the American Dream.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

There's a ball. There's a hoop. You put the ball through the hoop. That's success.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar