Clinton Names Basketball Star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Cultural Ambassador

Jan 18, 2012 4:40pm

The state department has a new global Cultural Ambassador: LA Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

The towering Hall-of-Famer said tackling his new position will be like following in the footsteps of Louis Armstrong, one of his heroes. Armstrong traveled the globe as a Goodwill Ambassador under President Kennedy.

Secretary Hillary Clinton said Abdul-Jabbar exemplifies a great story, “from the streets of Harlem, to the NBA, now with all the work you’re doing with your foundation to give back.”

Abdul-Jabbar presented Clinton with a signed LA Lakers jersey, emblazoned with the number he wore, 33, when he played center for the NBA team from 1975-1989. He also gave the secretary a copy of “What Color Is My World?”, a children’s book on the history of African-American inventors, which he co-authored.

The former NBA player travels to Brazil later this month to meet with underprivileged youth, and talk with them about the importance of education, racial tolerance, and sports as a tool for empowerment.

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