West Seattle schools: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, basketball legend turned children’s-book author, visits Sanislo Elementary

(First 3 photos by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
Before his appearance tonight at the Central Library downtown, basketball legend turned award-winning author Kareem Abdul-Jabbar made a side trip to West Seattle, delighting the students of Sanislo Elementary School, even autographing a basketball (held by Sanislo principal Bruce Rhodes, photographed with 5th grader Robert Chambers, student host for the event).

Right now, he’s promoting his newest book written for a youth audience, “Streetball Crew Book Two: Stealing the Game.” An earlier book, “What Color Is My World? The Lost History of African-American Inventors“, won the NAACP’s award for Best Children’s Book.

Sanislo third-graders are reading “What Color Is My World?” for Black History Month; Abdul-Jabbar asked if anyone could tell him who invented potato chips, and when a student gave him the answer (George Crum), he said he was pleased she’d paid attention to the book and would see her at her Ph.D. graduation someday. By the way – that was part of his message to the kids: It’s never too soon to start thinking about college. One student declared he wanted to play basketball in college and Abdul-Jabbar said, that’s great, but what are you going to *study*? P.S. If you’re trying to remember, we’ll save you the search – he left the NBA in 1989, at age 42, with a long list of achievements you can read about here.

P.S. Here’s a Sanislo library pic from Abdul-Jabbar’s feed, with a reminder about his SPL event:

And a pic our crew Instagrammed while there:

Seated, center, in the IG photo is Sanislo librarian Craig Seasholes, who’s brought many a memorable event/writer to the library over the years.

12 Replies to "West Seattle schools: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, basketball legend turned children's-book author, visits Sanislo Elementary"

  • underthebridge February 19, 2015 (5:01 pm)

    WoW! he’s my favorite all time NBA player. What lucky kids to have seen him speak. How come this wasn’t released earlier? I have his basketball cards could have had him sign them…sigh. Oh well..

    • WSB February 19, 2015 (5:02 pm)

      UTB, it wasn’t a public event. But his appearance at the Central Library tonight is (see the Twitter picture/caption added at the end of the story).

  • Patrick February 19, 2015 (5:28 pm)

    He was very clear. He was only taking questions from the kids and the Sanislo teachers and he would only autograph the ball for the school.

  • WestSide45 February 19, 2015 (6:35 pm)

    Mr. Abdul-Jabbar, formerly Lew Alcindor, is one of four basketball players who were so dominant that rules were changed. The “Alcindor rule” prohibited dunking in college. That is one reason he learned the “Sky hook” which could not be adequately defended by anyone.
    He was one-of-a-kind.

  • Mark32 February 19, 2015 (6:54 pm)

    Mr. Abdul-Jabbar, formerly Lew Alcindor, formerly Roger Murdock.

  • Josh February 19, 2015 (7:07 pm)

    That is so cool for those kids. Props to Mr. Seasholes and all of the staff at Sanislo for making this opportunity happen!

  • Guy Olson February 19, 2015 (7:23 pm)

    Aaaahaha!! That kid is priceless! I love it!

  • art vandalay February 19, 2015 (8:21 pm)

    He looks a lot like the guy who played one of the pilots in the movie airplane

  • KD February 20, 2015 (12:51 am)

    ‘Roger’ Roger! (from ‘Airplane’)
    ; )

  • Patti February 20, 2015 (8:54 am)

    I was at the school. He was so great with the kids. Soft spoken and funny. Great role model and he’s done so much since his retirement.

    Knowledge is power. Aim high kids!

  • jeunglady February 20, 2015 (9:06 am)

    Mr Seasholes is an absolute gem! He works his magic and stuff like this happens!!! :) Remember he was also the one that helped arrange for Carolyn Kennedy to appear last year. Sanislo is one LUCKY school to have Mr S!!! What a great experience for all the kids.

  • Drag & Drop Illustrator March 3, 2015 (11:58 am)

    Wow! How awesome is that! Way to go Kareem!!!

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