NBA legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s trophy case runneth over — however now he’s angling for an Emmy. He has nabbed six NBA MVP awards, six NBA Championships and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The New York native has additionally written quite a few books and pens op-eds — about all the pieces from whether or not LeBron James is the best basketball participant ever to the midterm elections — for The Hollywood Reporter and The Guardian. Now he can add tv scribe to his résumé: At age 71, he’s working as a employees author on the upcoming reboot of the teen-detective TV collection “Veronica Mars.” The outspoken Laker nice, a divorced grandfather of 1, talks to The Submit about his sudden profession change, the one factor he’ll by no means eliminate — and the film function that obtained away.
You’re fairly lively on Twitter. Had social media been round whenever you have been taking part in within the 1970s and ’80s, is there something you’ll have introduced extra consideration to?
There’s plenty of stuff that comes from simply residing my life — driving on the NJ Turnpike and being stopped as a result of I used to be a black particular person driving an costly automotive. I by no means wrote about it or complained. All black [people] need to cope with that. Cell cameras have uncovered that black folks have been singled out by white cops. It truly occurs. As soon as we expose these items, daylight is nice for these conditions.
Something out of your video games?
I used to be proper there standing on the court docket when Marvin Gaye sang the Nationwide Anthem on the All-Star Recreation [in 1983]. I’d have taken footage of that. The [Los Angeles] Discussion board was nice for star-watching. Did you ever watch ‘The Munsters’? Fred Gwynne [Herman Munster] and Al Lewis [Grandpa] tried to by no means miss my video games at UCLA.
How did you find yourself within the author’s room for the “Veronica Mars” reboot?[Show creator] Rob Thomas. There was a guide he did known as “Slave Day,” which I referred to [in an Orange County Register story] and he was flattered. I met Rob and had some concepts about doing a restricted collection about South Central Los Angeles. I wanted some assist with that. Rob was gracious sufficient to assist . . . And he provided to carry me and my right-hand man, [writer] Raymond Obstfeld, in and invited us to assist with the subsequent season of “Veronica Mars.” It’s actually serving to us and we’re studying [how to write a show]. We had no expertise. Now that I’m studying this, it’s fascinating, man.
What concepts are you bringing to the desk?
Me personally, not a complete lot. I’m attempting to take it in and determine it out as I am going alongside. I’m the rookie within the room . . . because it goes alongside I’m able to contribute somewhat bit. You watch for that second to occur.
What are you watching now?
The final present I binge-watched was “Atlanta.” I didn’t have [the FX network] on my cable so I had to determine methods to watch it.
You’ve got an iconic function within the film “Airplane,” as a co-pilot who denies he’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. You additionally appeared as your self in “Fletch” and “BASEketball.” Ever flip down a component for being too goofy?
No, however there was a job I missed out on . . . the [one] that Andre the Large had in “The Princess Bride.” I may have had it, however they shot the film throughout basketball season. And I obtained the function in “Airplane” as a result of Pete Rose couldn’t take it. They shot that through the summer season and he was taking part in baseball.
You’re now auctioning off memorabilia — together with sport jerseys and championship rings — to profit your Skyhook Basis for underprivileged children. What motivated you?
I had a fireplace [his Bel Air mansion was destroyed in 1983] and it helped me perceive what issues are all about — they’re simply issues, and I’m not within the museum enterprise.
However there needed to be one factor you needed to maintain, proper?
Yeah, I’ve certainly one of my MVP trophies. Certainly one of six. I stored one.
You turned a particular assistant coach to the Lakers in 2005 — 16 years after retirement. Why the delay?
I had a really unlucky relationship with the press whereas I used to be taking part in, as a result of I could possibly be prickly. It was a transition, generation-wise. I used to be coping with folks [in the basketball world] who didn’t like Muhammad Ali — and I used to be a fan of Ali, and there was some antagonism. It obtained out that I didn’t like folks. I used to be seen as a danger. However I lastly obtained via that and coached with the Lakers for 5 or 6 years. It was a great expertise. [By the time I retired,] I had burned out. And that was two or three years and . . . when that stopped, I began writing. [The burnout] pressured me to do one thing else.
You collected plenty of within the NBA. Which accomplishment means essentially the most to you?
My youngsters’s guide [“What Color is My World,” published in 2012] that gained the NAACP Picture Award. I’m pleased with that as a result of it was important for youths and the kind of factor that lasts. Children will likely be reaching for that guide for hopefully time to return, particularly black children that don’t perceive their very own heritage.
Do you suppose modern-day athletes are doing a great job parlaying their highlight into significant roles?
I assumed [outspoken NFL quarterback Colin] Kaepernick did an unimaginable job. All that fireside and he was nonetheless capable of be on message . . . It was neat to see that Nike gave him some help there.
What’s subsequent for you?
I at all times consider one thing new to strive. I’m simply having fun with life and it’s stunning having my granddaughter and seeing my youngsters do effectively. Amen. That’s all that counts.