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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to be state ambassador for education efforts

October 15, 2012|By Mark Medina
  • Former Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who has written several books, has been named an ambassador for California's STEM school program.
Former Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who has written several books,… ( John Carucci / Associated…)

In yet another example of how he's transcended basketball, former Laker Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will serve as California's After School STEM ambassador.

The STEM acronym stands for science, technology, engineering and math, subjects state Supt. Tom Torlakson believes will help improve California's education system. As an ambassador, Abdul-Jabbar plans to speak publicly on the importance of education. Through 2013, Abdul-Jabbar will travel to cities that host after-school STEM events.

During his tour, Abdul-Jabbar will unveil more than 300 pieces of memorabilia that reflect his 19-year NBA career, in which he finished as the league's all-top leading scorer and won five of his six championships with the Lakers. Proceeds from tickets to an unveiling event will benefit Abdul-Jabbar's Skyhook Foundation and STEM Education.

“If America is to maintain our high standard of living, we must continue to innovate,” Abdul-Jabbar said in a statement. “We are competing with nations many times our size, and STEM learning represents the engines of innovation. With these engines we can lead the world, because knowledge is real power.”

Abdul-Jabbar has extensive experience with other civic projects. During the past year, Abdul-Jabbar served as a global cultural ambassador on behalf of the U.S. State Department.  He released a documentary in 2011 titled "On the Shoulders of Giants," which focuses on the Harlem Rens (short for the New York Renaissance) and their effect on the sport and society as the first professional black basketball team. Abdul-Jabbar has authored seven books, mostly on African American history. And last summer, he was honored for his efforts on his documentary with a Lincoln Medal at the Ford's Theatre Society annual gala.

“Few things are more important to children’s educations and to California’s economy than the STEM subjects, and few people have more vision and commitment to making an impact in kids’ lives than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar,” Torlakson said in a statement. “I’ve long admired Kareem as an athlete, and I’m delighted now to count him as an ally in giving California’s kids every chance to succeed, not just in the classroom, but after school as well.”

RELATED:

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's 'On the Shoulders of Giants' celebrates the Harlem Rens

Lakers to unveil Kareem Abdul-Jabbar statue in upcoming season

Email the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com. Follow the Lakers blog on Twitter.

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