≡ Menu

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Quotes

Kareem Abdul

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar quotes: hooks from the Lakers legend.

“Good thoughts are no better than good dreams, unless they are executed.”

Your mind is what makes everything else work.”

“You can’t win unless you learn how to lose.  Along with everything else, you have to acquire the ability to accept defeat.  No one makes it without stumbling.”

“You can’t win if you don’t play as a unit.”

“We can learn from mistakes of others, whether they’re kings or our parents.  When we do learn those lessons, we’re better equipped to make our own dreams come true.”

“Learn from others and never cease trying to be the best you can possibly be.  If you get yourself too engrossed in things over which you have no control, it’s going to adversely affect the things over which you have control.”

“A team will always appreciate a great individual if he’s willing to sacrifice for the group.”

“One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team.”

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

“Don’t be so quick to judge.”

“What we need are positive, realistic goals and the willingness to work.  Hard work and practical goals.”

“I try to do the right thing at the right time.  They may just be little things, but usually they make the difference between winning and losing.  Even when there are adverse circumstances, I try to do my job.  And I usually do.”

“Some stuff can be fixed, some stuff can’t be.  Deciding which is which is part of maturing.”

“Great players are willing to give up their own personal achievement for the achievement of the group.  It enhances everybody.”

“You have to be able to center yourself, to let all of your emotions go.  Don’t ever forget that you play with your soul as well as your body.”

“Fundamental preparation is always effective.  Work on those parts of your game that are fundamentally weak.”

“Ignorance is not something that lends itself to a meaningful discussion.”

“Listen more than talk.”

“Become financially literate.  Learn about finances and stay on top of where your money is at all times.  As the saying goes, ‘Trust, but verify.'”

“Being right is not always the right thing to be.  It’s not that important to win an argument, even if you ‘know’ you’re right.  Sometimes it’s more important to try a little tenderness.”

“Compassion is better than passion.”

“Be patient.  Impatience is the official language of youth.  When you’re young, you want to rush to the next thing before you even know where you are.  I think the key to seeing the target no one else can see is in being patient, waiting for it to appear so you can do the right thing, not just the expedient thing.  Learning to wait is one of my greatest accomplishments as I’ve gotten older.”

“Coach John Wooden taught me that sports wasn’t just about making us better athletes, but about making us better people.  Compassion, kindness and morality were more important than a championship season.  Fame wasn’t an accomplishment, it was an opportunity to show our gratitude to the community that we are a part of by changing it for the better.”

“[On people worshipping athletes] We are more visible, but not more valuable.”

“I think that the good and the great are only separated by the willingness to sacrifice.”

“I can do something else besides stuff a ball through a hoop.  My biggest resource is my mind.”

“I love basketball, but playing basketball doesn’t fully define who I am.  I was always a good student, too.  I got all As and was hated for it; I spoke correctly and was called a punk.  It was my first time away from home, my first experience in an all-black situation, and I found myself being punished for everything I’d ever been taught was right.  I had to learn a new language simply to deal with the threats.  I had good manners, and was a good little boy and paid for it with my hide.”

“My English teacher, Dr. John Lindstrom, taught me an appreciation for the written word.  Until his class, I’d dabbled in journalism and essay writing.  But when he selected one of my essays as the best in the class, it gave me the confidence to see myself as a writer.”

“There are a lot of authors in the world, so it’s difficult to find a unique niche to present your take on things.  That is always a challenge for any author.  I have always thought that writers come with any variety of attributes.”

“My biggest accomplishment has been making a transition from athlete to author.”

“As a parent, I have a job as a role model to my children, and by extension, to other young people.”

“Do one thing every day that helps someone else.”

“I tell kids to pursue their basketball dreams, but I tell them to not let that be their only dream.”

“High school dropouts are forfeiting their opportunity to pursue the American Dream.”

“I’m not comfortable being preachy, but more people need to start spending as much time in the library as they do on the basketball court.”

“If they took 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.”

“I think I really benefited from going to college.”

“I think someone should explain to the child that it’s okay  to make mistakes.  That’s how we learn.  When we compete, we make mistakes.”

“Be more outgoing.  My shyness and introversion from those days still haunt me.  When you’re on the public stage every day of your life, people think that you crave attention.  For me, it was the opposite.  I loved to play basketball, and was tremendously gratified that so many fans appreciated my game.  But when I was off the court, I felt uncomfortable with attention.  Basically, I was a secret nerd who just happened to also be good at basketball.  Interacting with a lot of people was like taking someone deathly afraid of heights and dangling him over the balcony at the top of the Empire State Building.  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!'”

“Everything doesn’t have to be fixed.”

“Do one thing every day that you look forward to doing.”

“I have to say I have an incredible musical education because of my father.”

“Music rhythms are mathematical patterns.  When you hear a song and your body starts moving with it, your body is doing math.  The kids in their parents’ garage practicing to be a band may not realize it, but they’re also practicing math.  Music is really something that makes people whole.”

“The saying, ‘Those that don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it’ doesn’t just apply to politicians and world leaders, it applies to all of us on a daily basis.”

“Each story, novel, poem and play presents a vision of the world that illuminates the dark cave of life we stumble through.  We can see better where we’re going, what sudden drop to avoid, where the cool water is running.”

“I feel like I’ve always been a full-time historian, but nobody knows it.  If I hadn’t become a professional basketball player, I would have become a history teacher.  There’s so much to learn from history.”

“I just like seeing the world, and it doesn’t matter where.  I enjoy seeing new places.”

“Career is never as important as family.  The better you are at your job, the more you’re rewarded, financially and spiritually, by doing it.  You know how to solve problems for which you receive praise and money.  Home life is more chaotic.  So many young professionals spend more time at work with the excuse, ‘I’m sacrificing for my family.’  Bullsh*t.  Learn to embrace the chaos of family life and enjoy the small victories.”

“It’s hard to stop something that you’ve enjoyed and that has been very rewarding.”

“I could have skated by as an athlete, but the world is so much bigger and more interesting than any one thing.  I didn’t want to be pigeonholed as just a jock.  I’m also an author, a student of history, and I collect memorabilia from the Wild West.  I’m also a son, a father, and a friend.”

“I’ve had enough success for two lifetimes.  My success is talent put together with hard work and luck.”

“I want people to understand that I intend to continue living and doing all the things that I love to do up until the end.  And the end is by no means rushing up on me.”

“I’m not going to disappear.”

Related: LeBron James quotes.

Cory Johnson: CEO of a business he has yet to launch. As seen on your mom’s phone. Scaled to 7-figures in seven seconds selling a course on selling courses. Kidding. Watch this.