Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? Apocryphal?
Dear Quote investigator: A prominent professional basketball player once shared a bracing insight. Only a relatively tiny number of people are able to advance to the U.S. National Basketball Association (NBA). Hoping to become an NBA player is rarely a practical goal. Hence, one should place an emphasis on education and spend time in the library.
Would you please help me to determine when this was said and who said it?
Quote investigator: In 1990 top athlete Kareem Abdul-Jabbar published the autobiography “Kareem”, and he offered the following advice. Boldface added to excerpts: 1
The NBA isn’t a realistic hope for most people. I’m not comfortable being preachy, but more people have to start spending as much time in the library as they do on the basketball court. If they took to the idea that they could escape poverty through education, I think it would make a more basic and long-lasting change in the way things happen.
The passage continued by highlighting the value of attainable goals:
When we set up unrealistic goals and then don’t achieve them, that’s another example of internalized defeat. What we need are positive, realistic ideas and the willingness to work.
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.
- 1990, Kareem by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with Mignon McCarthy, Chapter 3: The Season: Life in the Salt Mines, Date: January 16, Quote Page 157, Random House, New York. (Verified with scans) ↩