He's at the center of cultural change.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Class of 1969

At UCLA, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the embodiment of the phrase “student-athlete.” And since his athletic career ended, the Bruin basketball legend, six-time NBA champion and all-time leading scorer has transcended athletics and found new fame as an historian, bestselling author and cultural critic. Abdul-Jabbar’s scholarship has illuminated such diverse subjects as the Harlem Renaissance, an all-black tank unit in World War II, and White Mountain Apaches; in his most recent book, Writings on the Wall - Searching for a New Equality Beyond Black and White, he offers solutions to society’s most vexing problems, including racism and polarization in politics. In 2012, Abdul-Jabbar was named Cultural Ambassador of the United States. “I’m not comfortable being preachy,” he says, “but more people need to start spending as much time in the library as they do on the basketball court.”

How will you make your mark?

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar The Optimists - UCLA - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

He's at the center of cultural change.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

At UCLA, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the embodiment of the phrase “student-athlete.” And since his athletic career ended, the Bruin basketball legend, six-time NBA champion and all-time leading scorer has transcended athletics and found new fame as an historian, bestselling author and cultural critic. Abdul-Jabbar’s scholarship has illuminated such diverse subjects as the Harlem Renaissance, an all-black tank unit in World War II, and White Mountain Apaches; in his most recent book, Writings on the Wall - Searching for a New Equality Beyond Black and White, he offers solutions to society’s most vexing problems, including racism and polarization in politics. In 2012, Abdul-Jabbar was named Cultural Ambassador of the United States. “I’m not comfortable being preachy,” he says, “but more people need to start spending as much time in the library as they do on the basketball court.”

How will you make your mark?