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.
- Being multi-dimensional
- How to play with Magic.
- How being described as “difficult” hurts your game.
- Improvement in general.
- Being accessible.
- How to market and sell yourself.
- Et cetera…
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: