By Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Peter Knobler
An interesting book. Kareem is a very intelligent guy. I was hoping for a little more introspection, but that's just not his way. This book does tell his side of the story, such as why he was never cordial with the press and he dispels that rumor that Magic caused him to "loosen up" (it was actually the woman he was dating and went on to marry). Still, for an extraordinary person, he comes off as a bit gloomy, like he has a dark cloud over his head and that he he doesn't enjoy life -- maybe it's just me.
Most autobiographies devote a few chapters to growing up and the rest to the professional career. Kareem spends a lot of detail on his entire life, from growing up, to playing in high school, hanging out with Wilt Chamberlain, and on through his UCLA days. He doesn't skip the bad years and talk more about the good years (well, except 1984...he doesn't talk much about it at all -- and this particular book boasts that the new addition contains material from his most recent season.). He also tells many other things, such as his views on racism, his refusal to play in the 1968 Olympics, the fire to his house, and his love of jazz, just to name a few things.
A couple of points. I think he tries to hard to rationalize Kermit Washington's brutal sucker punch of Rudy Tomjanovich. If you read it, you should read Rudy's account, and then you will have a lot different perspective. On the neat side, there is a story about Connie Hawkins' team playing Wilt Chamberlain's in the New York Rucker's league. Kareem was a spectator and you read his point of view. You should also read Hawkins'. It makes for a neat cross reference.
I do love the title of this book, as it is named in honor of John Coltrane's legendary album.
Giant Steps. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Peter Knobler. Bantam Books. 1983.