Kareem Abdul-Jabbar visits Lake Charles - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar visits Lake Charles

By Tiffany Blackmon - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC)-   Pull out any record book and you will easily find pages full of Kareem Abdul- Jabbar's accomplishments, but if you're in search of his best work, you won't find a number to measure that, because no stat can be compiled for the amount of lives he's touched off the court.

Abdul-Jabbar stated, "Too many kids focus on the quickest way there, So they think being an entertainer, an athlete, they'll make a lot of money really quick, and they think that's the only way to go."

Kareem is spreading the word on placing education before athletics through The Tournament of the Stars, a non profit organization that serves to raise college scholarships for deserving high school players.

Harold McReynolds, President of Tournament of the Stars said, "We're just so grateful that he's here, and he's here for a good cause, and I think people will be surprised at the knowledge that he has beyond basketball."

Kareem had the opportunity to trade in his tassel at UCLA to pursue an NBA career, but long before that chance arrived, he had already  made a decision.

"While I was still in grade school, I had identified getting my degree as something that I wanted to do. It was important to me and it would be important to my life," said Abdul-Jabbar.

A four year degree came before an illustrious NBA career, and that is what has inspired so many you athletes to reach their educational goals.

'It's just going to make me dream of one day being that person that everybody wants to see," stated Kris McDaniel, a high school basketball player.

Fellow high school basketball player Bridge Lavey said, "You have to work on your education before you can come do your basketball skills.'

Having a tournament like this in Lake Charles not only directly impacts our youth, but it also has a major impact on our city.

"It's the most important thing we can do. Each successive generation has an opportunity and an obligation to educate the following generation," stated Abdul-Jabbar.

(Copyright 2009 KPLC-TV. All rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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