Here’s everything you need to know about 71-year-old Kareem Abdul Jabbar, the former NBA pro currently competing on ‘Dancing with the Stars’!
1.) Kareem Abdul Jabbar, 71, is a retired professional basketball player. He played 20 seasons for the NBA, including 14 years with the Los Angeles Lakers. Kareem played as a center, which is one of five main positions during a basketball game. It is typically the tallest person on the team, which is why the position was perfect for Kareem because he’s a whopping 7’2″. Yes, that’s right — he’s OVER seven feet tall! Insane, right?
2.) He was born and raised in New York City. He went on to go to college at UCLA in California, and eventually met his first wife, Janice Brown, at a Lakers game. They went on to have three children together before divorcing in 1978. Kareem has two more sons, Amir and Adam, who appeared on the television show Full House alongside their dad.
3.) Kareem converted to Islam in 1971. He was only 24 years old when he decided to make the religious transition. His name, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, means “the noble one” and/or “a servant of the Almighty.” In 1998, Kareem sued a football player named Karim Abdul Jabbar for “sponging” off of his very popular and famous name. Awkward.
4.) He suffered through leukemia. Unfortunately, in November 2009 it was revealed that Kareem had a very specific kind of leukemia: Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia which affects the blood and bone marrow. In February 2011, Kareem revealed on Twitter that his cancer was at an “absolute minimum”.
5.) He’s done so much more than play basketball! Kareem is also a best-selling author, with his autobiography, “Giant Steps”, and the following books, “On the Shoulders of Giants: My Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance” and “Brothers in Arms: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion”.