December 23, 2016

DISCOMFORTING:

What the World Got Wrong About Kareem Abdul-Jabbar : A long, strange day with the least understood basketball star of all time. (JAY CASPIAN KANG, SEPT. 17, 2015, NY Times Magazine)

In‚ÄČthe sleek, cold lobby of the Langham Place hotel in Midtown Manhattan, one of those thoroughly designed spaces in which one cannot find a right angle, much less a comfortable chair, the 68-year-old, 7-foot-2 former basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was sitting on a leather bench with his arms draped around his protruding knees. It was a melancholy pose, best suited for the solitude of a beach at night or a rocky summit after a long hike. A U.C.L.A. T-shirt and a pair of jeans hung loosely off his narrow frame. Despite having had quadruple-bypass surgery just a few months earlier, Abdul-Jabbar didn't look all that different than he did during his last days on the Los Angeles Lakers in the late 1980s. The only evidence, really, that he had passed retirement age was a dash of white in his goatee.

''Hi, I'm the reporter who is going to follow you around today,'' I said, sticking out my hand.

''O.K.,'' he said. It was clear there would be no handshake.

I sat down next to him. He made no effort to start a conversation, so neither did I. We sat in silence.

Posted by at December 23, 2016 4:11 AM

  

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