Former NBA superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will be the guest speaker at the Ogden School Foundation’s fall author event on Thursday, November 4, 2021.
Photo provided, Dan Winters
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar reacts during the first half of Game 4 of the NBA Basketball Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, July 14, 2021, in Milwaukee.
Aaron Gash, Associated Press
OGDEN – Each year, members of the Ogden School Foundation strive to bring in a notable author to speak to the general public and to a select group of high school students. After a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event returns Thursday to the Eccles Conference Center for its 25th edition.
Originally scheduled for 2020, acclaimed author, activist and athlete Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will speak at the sold-out event. The decision to invite Abdul-Jabbar, best known for his basketball exploits, was straightforward for Janis Vause, executive director of the Ogden School Foundation, and the organization.
“Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a name that I think everyone knows on the planet, but few people know he’s a writer. When I found out from my husband, Mike, that he had written a Mycroft Holmes trilogy – which he had read and really enjoyed – and that he was the author of 15 New York bestselling books Times, we thought he would be the perfect fit to bring to Ogden to celebrate our event, ”Vause said.
This will be the first time in Ogden for Abdul-Jabbar. He is also president of the Skyhook Foundation, which aims to provide STEM opportunities to children in underserved communities. The decision to speak at the event was just as simple as a decision for the guest of honor.
“One of the main reasons I enjoy speaking at author events is that I appreciate the sincerity and dedication of people who are interested in writing. As an activist, I have tried to use my fame as a platform to defend those who have no voice. But writing gives everyone the opportunity to find their voice and tell the world their truth, ”Abdul-Jabbar said in an email. “It’s exciting and exhilarating for everyone. So many writers are people like me who had careers doing something else and now want to try their hand at writing. I hope to inspire these people to continue too.
Abdul-Jabbar’s first career began in 1969 as the first pick in the NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. He played 20 years in the NBA for the Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers, winning six championships, six MVP awards and becoming the league’s all-time leading scorer. During his NBA career, in 1983, he published his first book, “Giant Steps: The autobiography of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar”. He has since published 15 other books, both fiction and non-fiction.
“He’s definitely best known for his keen eye on the basketball court. But after discovering the quality of his writing, we said to ourselves why not? Most of our old writers have had a different demographics than the ones they turned to, and it will likely be the same with Kareem, ”Vause said.
The event itself will take place in two parts. Thursday night at the conference center, there will be a social hour and book sale in the Grand Ballroom starting at 5:30 p.m. with the presentation at 7:30 p.m. and a book signing from 8:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The next morning there will be a discussion between Abdul-Jabbar and the 11 students who won the district essay contest in front of an assembly for the rest of the student body at Ogden High School.
In alphabetical order, the students who won the competition are:
- Sydney D’Hulst
- Jami Jane Elbrader
- Joseph gibson
- Alicia Martinez Granados
- Elizabeth hansen
- Brook hardin
- Danielle Johns
- Sae Obayashi
- Ruben ortiz
- Kel Petersen
- Reagan wilcox
Few people have lived a life as vast as Abdul-Jabbar, and he hopes the experiences at Ogden will provide meaningful memories for all involved.
“I want them to understand that the only way for humanity to progress beyond the hate divide is for us to understand each other’s hearts. The best way to make this happen is for people to make friends who are unlike them and learn from them an appreciation of their life’s journey and the wonders of their culture, ”he said. “The second best way is to read the words we share about our lives, our thoughts, our beliefs, our experiences. Studies have shown that people who read a lot are more empathetic towards each other. I hope to encourage this goal, in my writing and in my activism.
Limited tickets are still available for the event overflow room. Attendees in the overflow room will receive dinner and have the chance to watch the presentation via a live stream. They will also be able to attend the social hour and the signing session. Tickets for the overflow room are $ 70 per person and can be purchased on the Ogden School Foundation website.