Having the rare distinction as a New York Times best-selling author while still reigning as the NBA’s all time leading scorer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has proven his famously stoic expressions as he was hoisting championship trophies were a byproduct of thoughts to challenge conventional wisdom rather than out of boredom from just being too good at the sport. With his new book he touches on a variety of topics stemming from an underlying dogmatic belief that equality is more about an affirmative action laced payoff rather than a renewed mindset. Being on the side of the age line considered the future of America, my interest was piqued, which lead me to “Writings on the Wall”.
As a six-year-old kid, partially due to action movies and cartoons my career objective was to become a policeman, but due to heavy conditioning I received because of my height to divert that interest to professional athletics, that goal and many others quickly dissolved. It wasn’t until being cut from the basketball team my sophomore year of college that my mind felt liberated to give the rest of life another shot, which is when Abdul-Jabbar’s overlapping years as an activist, author, and ambassador among other things during the height of his playing years really began to hit home.
Foremost “Writings on the Wall” agrees with the notion that our problems simply won’t go away if we ignore them long enough. Abdul-Jabbar expresses his sentiments from the vantage points of a former athlete, African-American, Muslim, senior, cancer survivor and parent and lets the reader take it from there.
“The word ‘race’ is ghettoizing language that perpetuates seeing people of color as a different species. The word encourages fear and distrust. Language is the fuel that feeds the great racist generator.” Race eventually “should become the new n—– and people will refer to it in hushed tones as the R-word.” “Until then, for the sake of sharing a common though inaccurate language in order to foster a solution, most of us, myself included, will continue to talk about race as if it actually existed — and racism because it does actually exist.” words Abdul-Jabbar.
This book isn’t Abdul-Jabbar lecturing minority groups to stop using the race card and “get over it” as he makes an obligatory pitch for the Nation of Islam at the end, but rather giving several misguided or misrepresented groups in America an intimate living room feeling conversation on how we all should be pursuing equality on all fronts.
“The one part of the American dream that cannot be changed or compromised is our commitment to make the opportunity for a life that is ‘better and richer and fuller’ available to everyone” Abdul-Jabbar says.
With the mounting level of outrage of today’s societal, political and economic hardships, our country has been subject to countless blind protests conducted by citizens basically swinging in the dark, hoping to connect with the face of their oppressor, all the while making sacrifices to their lives and way of living in the belief they furthered their cause. What works for “Writing on the Wall” is it gives a starting and end point, a problem and a direction towards a solution.
The nine chapters of this book touch on the issues of or pertaining to politics, race, religion, gender, class, sports, media, senior citizens and millennials, all of which contain multi-pronged issues and adjustments that should follow. Weaving in an out of these topics with statistical analysis and personal narrations, sprinkled with brief moments of light-hearted humor and pop culture references, “Writings on the Wall” doesn’t look to be that loud booming voice that scares you into changing your ways, but rather those assuring words showing you the benefit of the doubt.
In no way should this book be looked upon as the bible of social balance. However in this day and age with the so much placed behind the stance of individuals with a platform on the issues that plague our country, this was definitely a needed account.
“I’ve been asked many times over the years profession I would have chosen had I not become a basketball player. My answer surprises people:” he starts the book.