You were known as a focused player who wasn’t very personable. Did that hurt your career?
Well, it had a negative effect on how I was portrayed. But I had no one to explain the value of public relations to me. When I was in college, there was such an intense demand from the press that John Wooden said they couldn’t talk to me at all. So that was what I took for normal going into the NBA. Being at the top of my game and working as hard as I could for the people who employed me—that was my primary focus, and everything else was secondary. So I didn’t always respond to social situations in a pleasant way. When it came to talking to people, I was kind of reserved. But shyness is something you have to overcome. Later in my career, I started doing a lot better relating to fans and talking to the media. I think that’s continued to improve in my retirement.
Excellent interview with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Harvard Business Review. This interview highlights elements of success and transcends industries beyond sports. We continue to explore lessons from athletes on tonight’s #3PChat with @RickardonSports. Please follow and ask questions using “#3PCwin”. Thank you.
This interview discusses:
Why PR matters in addition to your team’s results.
What role managers play in development.
How to play with Magic.
How being described as “difficult” hurts your game.
Improvement in general.
How to market and sell yourself.
We highly recommend this interview with Kareem as he reflects on his trajectory as he evolved from a great player to a winning player on and off court: