Hall-of-Fame basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been visiting select cities across America for screenings of his new basketball documentary. The six-time NBA MVP wrote a book about the Harlem Renaissance Big Five, also known as the Harlem Rens. This was a basketball team comprised of African-Americans who fought to be a part of the game, only to be stifled by the racism of 1930â€™s America. The book chronicles the Rens as they worked their way toward playing in the first non-segregated basketball championship in 1939 against a team from Wisconsin. The book has now become a documentary entitled â€œOn the Shoulders of Giants.â€ Abdul-Jabbar has been screening the movie at high schools on both coasts, including the Harlem section of New York where he grew up.
â€œThe film has all the things I love,â€ Abdul-Jabbar told the Associate Press. â€œIt has basketball, jazz music and the history of African-American people. I think the film came out really well. Iâ€™m happy with itâ€¦The main reason why I did the film is that it is enabling me to make the transition from a jock,â€ he said, â€œand give me credibility as a scholar and a filmmaker. Iâ€™m going to continue to make that work.â€
Abdul-Jabbar also recently addressed the status of his cancer. He was diagnosed with a form of leukemia, called Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia or CML, in 2008. â€œMy cancer right now is at an absolute minimum,â€ he reported. â€œItâ€™s not life-threatening at this point in my lifeâ€¦Medical science has made great strides over the last 20 years,â€ he said. â€œPeople in my position are able to live their lives to the fullest. Iâ€™m very grateful for that. Iâ€™m lucky that they caught it in enough time, and Iâ€™ve responded well to the medication. If not for the success that medicine has made, I might be part of a much different story right now.â€ He has been so impressed with the medication that he is taking, called Gleevec, that he has become a spokesperson for the pharmaceutical company that manufactures it, Novartis.