Kareem Abdul-jabbar


Also Known As
Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr., Lew Alcindor
Birth Place
New York, New York, USA
April 16, 1947


Born in New York City in 1947, Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor (Lew Alcindor) was always tall. He was 6 feet 8 inches tall before entering high school, where his team finished with a 79-2 record including a 71-game winning streak. Although NCAA rules prevented freshman from playing during the season, the Alcindor-led freshman team at UCLA beat the varsity team that went on to win the National C...


Born in New York City in 1947, Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor (Lew Alcindor) was always tall. He was 6 feet 8 inches tall before entering high school, where his team finished with a 79-2 record including a 71-game winning streak. Although NCAA rules prevented freshman from playing during the season, the Alcindor-led freshman team at UCLA beat the varsity team that went on to win the National Championship, beginning a renowned college career that resulted in an unprecedented three consecutive National Championships of his own and an 88-2 record, as well as earning his BA in History. In 1968, Alcindor converted to Islam and in 1969 was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks with the first pick in the NBA draft. In his second year in the league, Alcindor won fist first NBA MVP award, and led the Bucks to their first NBA Championship, where he was named the finals MVP. The day after winning the finals, Alcindor began publicly using his Arabic name, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The same year, he made his first appearance as an actor, on the private eye show "Mannix" (CBS, 1967-1975). In 1975, Abdul-Jabbar was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he was joined, in 1979, by Magic Johnson. The pair ushered in the Lakers basketball dynasty, appearing in the NBA finals 8 times, winning 5. Abdul-Jabbar earned his record sixth NBA MVP award in 1980. Abdul-Jabbar continued to appear occasionally in film and TV; most notably he had a memorable cameo in the classic slapstick comedy "Airplane" (1980). When he retired in 1989 after 20 years in basketball, Abdul-Jabbar was considered the greatest player of all time. After his basketball career, Abdul-Jabbar was a frequent writer and activist for racial equality. In 1986, he published his first novel of History, Black Profiles in Courage: A Legacy of African-American Achievement. He has also co-written a pair books, Mycroft Holmes and Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes, which take the famous character on new adventures. Abdul-Jabbar also produced and directed "On the Shoulders of Giants" (2011) about a legendary but overlooked basketball team from 1930s Harlem. In 2018 it was announced that he would add screenwriter to his resume, as he was named as one of the writers on the series reboot of "Veronica Mars" (The CW, 2004-07).



Cast (Feature Film)

The Black List: Volume One (2008)
Americanizing Shelley (2007)
Baseketball (1998)
Rebound: The Legend of Earl the Goat (1996)
Forget Paris (1995)
Slam Dunk Ernest (1995)
D2: The Mighty Ducks (1994)
Troop Beverly Hills (1989)
Jake Spanner, Private Eye (1989)
Troop Beverly Hills (1989)
Fletch (1985)
Shooting Stars (1983)
Airplane! (1980)
The Game of Death (1978)

Writer (Feature Film)

On the Shoulders of Giants (2011)

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Baseketball (1998)
Forget Paris (1995)
Troop Beverly Hills (1989)

Cast (Special)

Playboy's 50th Anniversary Special (2003)
John Wooden: Values, Victory and Peace of Mind (2001)
The Great American History Quiz: Pursuit of Happiness (2000)
Sports Illustrated's 20th Century Sports Awards (1999)
The Sixth Annual Trumpet Awards (1998)
Brandon Lee: The E! True Hollywood Story (1997)
Bruce Lee: The Immortal Dragon (1997)
Blue Note: A Story of Modern Jazz (1997)
NBA at 50 (1996)
Nissan Presents a Celebration of America's Music (1996)
The Journey of the African-American Athlete (1996)
Fields of Fire: Sports in the '60s (1995)
The Jim Thorpe Pro Sports Awards (1995)
American Coaches: Men of Vision and Victory (1994)
Bruce Lee (1994)
Jim Thorpe Pro Sports Awards Presented by Footlocker (1993)
The Great Ones: The National Sports Awards (1993)
A Salute to the Newport Jazz Festival (1993)
The Rich and Famous 1993 World's Best (1993)
New Kids on the Block at Walt Disney World (1991)
Malcolm Takes a Shot (1990)
History of the NBA (1990)
The Sports Comedy Network (1990)
All-Star Tribute to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1989)
Superstars and Their Moms (1988)
The Second Annual Star-Spangled Celebration (1988)
A Star-Spangled Celebration (1987)
Ask Max (1986)
Black Champions (1986)
Rock 'n' Wrestling Saturday Spectacular (1985)
The Hero Who Couldn't Read (1984)

Producer (Special)

All-Star Tribute to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1989)
Executive Producer

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Stephen King's The Stand (1994)

Producer (TV Mini-Series)

The Vernon Johns Story (1994)
Executive Producer

Life Events


Played for four seasons at UCLA, three under famed coach John Wooden


Twice named Player of the Year


Boycotted Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City, Mexico due to racial discrimination against blacks in the U.S.


Led UCLA Bruins to win over University of Houston in match famously called "the Game of the Century"


First player drafted in the 1969 NBA draft


Named NBA MVP for the first time


Traded to the Los Angeles Lakers


Made film debut opposite Bruce Lee in "Game of Death"; studied Jeet Kune Do martial arts under Lee


Appeared in "Airplane!" as co-pilot Roger Murdock.


Published memoir <i>Giant Steps</i>, co-written with Peter Knobler


Named <i>Sports Illustrated</i> magazine's "Sportsman of the Year"


Made cameo in crime comedy "Fletch"


Announced retirement after 20 years of playing professional basketball


Inducted into Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame


Co-wrote historical book <i>Black Profiles in Courage: A Legacy of African-American Achievement</i> with Alan Steinberg


Served as special assistant coach for the Lakers


Co-wrote documentary feature "On the Shoulders of Giants: The Story of the Greatest Team You Never Heard Of"


Statue unveiled in front of Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA


Began penning film reviews and editorials for <i>The Hollywood Reporter</i>


Movie Clip

Drunken Angel (1948) -- (Movie Clip) Don't Think Like A Slave! First domestic scene for Takashi Shimura as the title character, inebriate Tokyo doctor Sanada, arguing with granny (Choko Iida) and scolding his assistant and friend Miyo (Chieko Nakakita) for her fear of a gangster due to be released from prison, in Akira Kurosawa’s Drunken Angel, 1948.
Rashomon (1950) -- (Movie Clip) Opening And Credits Details of the restoration then the opening, with classical Japanese music by Fumio Hayasaka, introduces the rainy medieval world of director Akira Kurosawa in Rashomon, 1950.
Lifeforce (1985) -- (Movie Clip) In A Sense We're All Vampires Edgy scientist Fallade (Frank Finlay) is sharing early theories with high-powered British security man Caine (Peter Firth) about the vampire-like space girl who’s escaped into London, while two soldiers (Milton Cadman, Rupert Baker) watch over her two partners (Bill Malin and Mick’s brother Christopher Jagger), in Lifeforce, 1985.
Cleopatra Jones (1973) -- (Movie Clip) See You Around, Super Honkie Confrontation here between brassy LA heroin trafficker “Mommy” (Shelley Winters) and her top distributor Doodlebug (Antonio Fargas), who wants to cut a new deal, and feels sure she can handle the threat posed by the federal agent title character, in Cleopatra Jones< 1973.
Back To The Future (1985) -- (Movie Clip) A Case Of Missing Plutonium The sometimes overlooked opening, filled with broad exposition, from the original screenplay by Bob Gale and director Robert Zemeckis, as presented by executive producer Steven Spielberg, star Michael J. Fox appearing just at the ending, in the hit time-travel comedy Back To The Future, 1985.
Back To The Future (1985) -- (Movie Clip) It's A Delorean Meeting his pal the freelance mad scientist “Doc” Brown (Christopher Lloyd) at the mall after midnight, high-schooler Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) is surprised to see he’s really on to something, the first big special effects sequence from director Robert Zemeckis, in Back To The Future, 1985.
Cleopatra Jones (1973) -- (Movie Clip) TWA Flight 405 From Istanbul Having received word that the drug rehab center she supports was raided back in LA, big-time federal narcotics agent Tamara Dobson (title character) arrives at LAX, where goons representing the heroin kingpin she’s been pursuing (Shelley Winters) are waiting, in Cleopatra Jones, 1975.
Cleopatra Jones (1973) -- (Movie Clip) Burn It! Joining the credits, title character Tamara Dobson gets off a chopper and calls in a raid on a Turkish poppy field, John Orchard the Brit general, in Warner Bros.' Cleopatra Jones, 1973, co-starring Bernie Casey, with Shelley Winters as the drug-dealer villain.
Cleopatra Jones (1973) -- (Movie Clip) No Fireworks For 72 Hours Title character Tamara Dobson, a big time jet-setting federal drug agent, visiting with her boyfriend Reuben (Bernie Casey), who runs an LA drug rehab center that was just raided by crooked cops, counseling caution, and enemies lying in wait, in Cleopatra Jones, 1973.
Ikiru (1952) -- (Movie Clip) It's A Mild Ulcer Lonesome Watanabe (Takashi Shimura) realizes what the audience already knows, about his stomach cancer, with an obfuscating doctor (Masao Shimizu) in Akira Kurosawa's Ikiru, 1952, music by Fumio Hayasaka.
Wild River (1960) -- (Movie Clip) This Whole Place Will Be Water Montgomery Clift as Glover, the new Tennessee Valley Authority man, having noted the “TVA keep off” sign, not quite meeting matriarch Ella Garth (Jo Van Fleet), who refuses to sell her land even though the new dam’s already been built, Lee Remick her near-silent daughter, early in Elia Kazan’s Wild River, 1960.
Wild River (1960) -- (Movie Clip) He Told Me Never To Get Off Stubborn Ella Garth (Jo Van Fleet) shows TVA-man Glover (Montgomery Clift) the grave of her husband, who told her never to give up the Tennessee River island he claimed, regardless of the new dam and the lake, her daughter Carol (Lee Remick) not exactly helping, in Elia Kazan’s Wild River, 1960.


Cleopatra Jones (1973) -- (Original Trailer) Made for TV trailer does little justice to the big-budget Warner Bros. “Blaxploitation” feature Cleopatra Jones, 1973, starring Tamara Dobson, which made enough money to justify an even more expensive sequel.
Chariots Of Fire - (Original Trailer) Committed British runners strive for the 1924 Olympics in the Academy Award-winning Best Picture Chariots Of Fire (1981).
Barry Lyndon - (Original Trailer) An Irish rogue (Ryan O'Neal) cheats his way to the top of 18th-century British society in Stanley Kubrick's lush adaptation of the Thackeray novel Barry Lyndon (1975).
Back To The Future - (Teaser Trailer) A young man (Michael J. Fox) travels into the past and almost keeps his parents from getting married in Back To The Future (1985).
1941 - (Original Trailer) Panic sweeps Hollywood when a Japanese invasion is suspected in Steven Spielberg's gigantic farce 1941 (1979).
As Good As It Gets - (Original Trailer) Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt both won Oscars for their performances in the romantic comedy As Good As It Gets (1997).
Airplane! - (Original Trailer) When a flight crew falls ill, the only man who can land the plane is afraid of flying in Airplane! (1980), a spoof of Zero Hour! (1957)."
Philadelphia - (Original Trailer) A lawyer sues his firm for firing him because he has AIDS in Philadelphia (1993), featuring Tom Hanks' Oscar-winning performance.
Corvette Summer - (Original Trailer) Mark Hamill followed Star Wars playing a high school student in search of his stolen car in Corvette Summer (1978).
Midnight Express - (Original Trailer) A young man arrested for drug smuggling fights to survive the horrors of a Turkish prison in Midnight Express (1978).
Shoot the Moon - (Original Trailer) Albert Finney and Diane Keaton star in Shoot the Moon (1982), a portrait of a family in the midst of divorce.
Hunger, The - (Original Trailer) A female vampire falls for a beautiful young research doctor in The Hunger (1983) starring Susan Sarandon, David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve.