NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar meets the 2 Oakland State champion basketball teams

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) — The tallest man in the room, basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, was inspired by the meteoric achievement of these young men and women of Oakland, each winning the basketball championship of the State for his high school.

For the Oakland Tech women’s team, it was their third title.

For Oakland High, it was the team’s first state championship.

On Wednesday, there were numerous accolades followed by guidance from California Schools Superintendent Tony Thurmond.

“I want you to use the education that’s been given because you’re all champion athlete-scholars,” Thurmond said.

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It was Thurmond who asked six-time NBA champion Abdul-Jabbar to spread his message of education. The former basketball great now has a foundation called Skyhook which focuses on teaching students science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

“But if you get that education, the only limits to where you go are the limits you put there,” Abdul-Jabbar said.

He grew up in Harlem and recently wrote a book about the New York Rens, the first all-black men’s basketball team formed in 1923.

Each member of the team in Oakland received a signed copy.

“Eventually the ball stops bouncing, so wherever it takes you, I think all the coaches and the people who have supported you are hoping that you can take what you learned in basketball and move on with your life.” , said Mari Somvichian, co-captain of Oakland Tech. Women’s basketball team.

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For Dylan Cooper who plays for Oakland High, basketball gave him needed structure.

“You can’t fail unless you choose to,” he added.

Perhaps the best advice given by a sports champion is that education is that shot that can’t be blocked.

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