An excellent article recently came out on a #10 BCAR who we rarely talk about. It’s ironic, really, as he could easily be considered the most recognizable #10 in the world behind Michael Jackson and Tiger Woods. Well, there’s also Kermit the Frog (aka Jim Henson), but we’ll stick with human beings for now. At any rate, his name is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and he is quite the mixture of a man.
My shyness and introversion from those days still haunt me, he writes. Fans felt offended, reporters insulted. … If I could, I’d tell that nerdy Kareem to suck it up, put down that book you’re using as a shield and, in the immortal words of Capt. Jean-Luc Picard (to prove my nerd cred), Engage!
Says veteran sportswriter, Jackie MacMullan, “He was a jerk. I have sympathy for Kareem because I’ve been around Bill Russell (#13 FCIR) a bit. People always wanting a piece of you. I just always felt Kareem could have managed it better. Kareem’s response? It’s true, he says. I should have dealt with everyone better.
Yet, as Kareem already alluded to, it wasn’t always because he didn’t care. “Sometimes there’s that sense that he’s unapproachable, says NBA Commissioner Adam Silver (#13 FCIR). But having been around the world with Kareem, it’s clear he’s incredibly shy and that his shyness gets mistaken for aloofness.
Indeed, why so aloof? When we take a brief look around the #10 BCAR world, we see that Kareem is not alone. One word often used to described Tiger Woods has been “aloof.” Take fellow golfer and #10 Vijay Singh, who for years has desired to “shed his aloof reputation.” Yet, just like Kareem, people who know Vijay well say he is “easygoing, funny, generous to a fault, wholly misunderstood and unappreciated, victimized by the media’s portrayal.” With regards to Woods himself, his former coach Hank Haney (#8 BEIL) described him as “a walking contradiction — charming but cold, focused but aloof.” Take a look at Jim Henson’s biography, and a picture is painted of a “guy who comes across as crazy, aloof, insecure, and mentally unstable.” We don’t even need to touch on Michael Jackson, who was widely known as aloof, yet caring, shy, yet kind. Another, Richard Chamberlain, was described as “a fine actor, but aloof.”
The simple answer is found in Niednagel’s book, Brain Types and Parenting. “Though seemingly hard to get to know, BCARs are a joy to work with, and they are often entertaining and humorous to those close to them. When you earn their trust, they can be transparent and open, often appearing Front-brain dominant.” And again, “Living in harmony may be their desire, but the real world is not always harmonious. They need to be free to forgive others, as well as themselves. Idealism will need to give way to realism without becoming fatalistic and uninvolved.” Niednagel goes into much more detail as the pages continue.
Last, Kareem’s passion for writing has existed for years, but only now is coming out in the open. He has almost 1.7 million followers on Twitter, recently published a children’s book, and writes columns for various publications. You get to be a storyteller, he says. And you get to share information in a way that can sometimes change people’s minds and at least make people open up and expand what they know to be true. I think that’s pretty neat. Says Jerry West (#6 BEIR), This is not somebody writing a little column. His language is unparalleled. It doesn’t surprise me. There is no athlete I’ve ever met brighter than Kareem. That is quite the compliment!
The moral of the story, it seems, is to recognize your faults, and do something about it. Similarly, to recognize your strengths, and do something about it. Kareem is working on both. Thinking on the time he met Brooklyn Dodgers slugger Duke Snider back in 1980, he says, What a wonderful guy. And that really made me start thinking, Have I been that wonderful guy? That’s what changed my attitude. I bled Dodger blue when I was a kid. When they left Brooklyn, I cried. I had heard someone else tell me a story about Carl Furillo. That he was a real a——. I don’t want to be remembered like that. That’s not me. I’ve got that much graciousness in me.
Written by: Staff
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