For Immediate Release
HBO SPORTS® SETS PREMIERE FOR
DOCUMENTARY ABOUT BASKETBALL LEGEND AND TRAILBLAZER
KAREEM: MINORITY OF ONE SET TO DEBUT NOV. 3 ON HBO
NEW YORK, July 23, 2015 – HBO Sports® and Mandalay Sports Media, in association with Iconomy® Multi-Media & Entertainment, have set the premiere date for the much-anticipated documentary about the life and career of Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the National Basketball Association’s all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points, and six-time MVP and World Champion.
KAREEM: MINORITY OF ONE will debut TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 3 at 10:00 p.m. (ET/PT), an exciting time period in the basketball world as new seasons unfold at the scholastic, collegiate and professional levels and teams begin the long journey to a championship run. Jabbar played on six NBA world championship teams during his incomparable career.
The 90-minute film is produced by Deborah Morales, whose credits include the award-winning documentary “On the Shoulders of Giants,” and executive produced by Mike Tollin, whose credits include the Oscar®-nominated documentary “Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream,” the hit HBO series “Arli$$” and such feature films as “Coach Carter,” “Radio” and “Varsity Blues.” The documentary on Abdul-Jabbar will spotlight an athlete who had unparalleled impact on and success in basketball, and has journeyed through many controversial and landmark moments over the past 50 years. The exclusive HBO presentation marks the first time Jabbar has participated in a documentary production telling his life story.
“Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a legendary figure and an American sports icon,” says Ken Hershman, president, HBO Sports. “While he has lived so much of his life in the media spotlight, his extraordinary story has never been explored in depth, and we are grateful to Kareem and his team for allowing us to bring this story to life.”
Tollin, co-chairman of Mandalay Sports Media, says the film will “reveal the complexity and genius of Kareem both on and off the court. By his own admission, Abdul-Jabbar has had a complicated and occasionally hostile relationship with the media. This is a unique opportunity to tell all sides of his story.”
“Kareem waited more than twenty years to tell his story and we’re delighted to present it on the HBO platform,” says Deborah Morales, Jabbar’s long-time personal manager and producing partner. “We’re grateful for the contributions so many have made to this revealing film which will enable people to understand his life beyond basketball and Kareem is looking forward to finally sharing his journey with the fans.”
Ferdinand Lewis (Lew) Alcindor, Jr. was born in New York City in 1947. After leading his high school team to three consecutive New York City Catholic championships, the 7’2” Alcindor headed west to play for John Wooden and the UCLA Bruins, where he dominated college basketball like never before. Alcindor was a ttwo-time Player of the Year (1967, 1969) and a three-time First-Team All-American (1967-69), setting multiple UCLA records, including highest scoring average (29 points per
game) and most points in a single game (61). During his three years on the UCLA varsity team, Alcindor and the Bruins were 88-2 and won three consecutive NCAA Championships.
He remains the only player in history to be named Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament three years in a row and received the first Naismith College Player of the Year Award. After the slam dunk was banned, Alcindor crafted one of the most remarkable collegiate careers in history with his signature skyhook shot. He has been called “History’s Greatest Player” by Time Magazine and dubbed “Greatest Collegiate Athlete of the 20th Century” by ESPN. But he was also no stranger to controversy, and did not shy away from taking an unpopular stand when he felt compelled to address cultural and political issues.
Drafted No. 1 overall by the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks and the ABA’s New York Nets in 1969, Alcindor opted for the NBA, where he captured Rookie of the Year honors in 1970. In 1971, he continued his winning ways alongside newly acquired guard Oscar Robertson, and won the NBA Championship, as well as his first NBA scoring title, NBA MVP and NBA Finals MVP.
After winning the NBA Championship, Alcindor officially changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The NBA superstar attributed the name change to his family’s lineage from slavery and the importance of Islamic tradition during that trying time in American history.
In 1974, he requested a trade to a more diverse market and went to the Los Angeles Lakers, where the future NBA Hall of Famer became world-renowned, later pairing with Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jr., the first overall draft pick in 1979. During the ensuing era, the Lakers became one of the most famous and glamorous teams in NBA history. Abdul-Jabbar and the Lakers won five of their eight appearances in the NBA Finals. In 1989, after playing 20 professional seasons and scoring 38,387 points, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar retired as the NBA’s All-Time Leading Scorer, a record he still holds to this day.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s successes didn’t end with his playing days. He has never been shy about speaking candidly on a wide variety of subjects and expanding his intellectual and personal horizons beyond the hardwood. Abdul-Jabbar has appeared in dozens of TV shows and movies, often lampooning his own persona, as in memorable cameos in “Airplane!” and “Game of Death,” Bruce Lee’s final film. He has also written eleven books, many of them New York Times bestsellers. In Jan. 2012, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton appointed him a Cultural Ambassador for the United States. He currently serves as a regular contributing columnist for Time Magazine.
Abdul-Jabbar’s personal journey dovetails with an explosive period in American history. He was – and remains – equipped with a unique and remarkable perspective through which to interpret the past half-century of the country’s narrative. This film will provide an intimate glimpse at Abdul-Jabbar through incisive interviews and rare archival footage.
Interviews for the film include former Los Angeles Lakers Pat Riley, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Jerry West and Jamaal Wilkes; NBA greats Bill Walton, Larry Bird, Oscar Robertson, Elvin Hayes and Julius Erving; celebrities Arsenio Hall, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock and Billy Crystal; social commentators Dr. Richard Lapchick and Dr. Cornel West; and a host of family and neighborhood friends from Jabbar’s childhood in New York City.
Noted for its unique storytelling ability, HBO Sports has collected 33 Sports Emmy® Awards for production excellence in the documentary genre and has won the Sports Emmy® for Outstanding Documentary in five of the last eight years. Liev Schreiber narrates the documentary.
About Mandalay Sports Media
Launched in 2012 by Peter Guber and Mike Tollin, MSM is a diversified sports content and media company that creates high-quality, sports-themed programming for all platforms and creates, acquires and invests in businesses and assets across the sports content and media landscape. Since its founding, MSM has produced and is producing content for ESPN, E! Channel, ABC, CBS, FOX, The NFL, Xbox Entertainment Studios, Turner Sports, Yahoo, VICE, AOL, among others, with numerous projects in development with major television, digital, feature film and sports entities. Learn more at www.mandalaysportsmedia.com.
About Iconomy® Multi-Media & Entertainment
Iconomy® Multi-Media and Entertainment is excited to collaborate with premium cable network HBO to bring Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s fascinating life to fans and home viewers everywhere. Iconomy® develops, produces, distributes and manages multi-media channels in film, publishing deals, music and audio sound tracks, as well as special events, for a select group of high-profile clients. Distribution deals include Netflix, Time Warner, Comcast, iNDemand, ESPN and a host of mainstream retailers. Iconomy also generates lucrative endorsement deals with national and international brands and entities including raising capital for (as well as directing and producing) critically acclaimed documentaries.