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Known for being the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar certainly has his naysayers off the court.
Kareem once absolutely hated the attention he received and essentially shut off the outside world from accessing his private life. Perhaps people misunderstood Kareem, but it is more likely that Kareem did not care what other people thought of him.
Take the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City for example.
"The year I was supposed to go was in 1968 at Mexico City," he says. "But I didn't. I didn't feel comfortable representing my country.
"That year Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated. I was aware that America was, let us just say, practicing a lot of hypocrisy.
"I was trying to get out of college. I had a good job in New York City. So I went home, worked, saved money so I could get out of university in time and go on with my professional career.
"My own agenda was more important than representing the country."
Abdul-Jabbar, formerly Lew Alcindor, grew up in America during a time where Martin Luther King Jr., Malcom X and Muhammad Ali stood up for the rights of African-Americans. Kareem surely took their thoughts and teachings to heart, but ultimately was misunderstood as he was becoming an American superstar.
Kareem took flack from newspapers and reporters for a multitude of issues, including refusing to stop reading a newspaper while giving an interview.
While Kareem kept the media distant during his career that is no longer the case. He is now one of the foremost ambassador’s of the NBA.