Life Lessons

Unlike my esteemed co-author URR, I’m not a basketball fan. Virtually everything about the game, I learned from watching One Tree Hill.

But that doesn’t mean I’m so culturally ignorant as to not know the names of the Great Ones. And high in that pantheon is Kareem Abdul Jabar.

While I have admired him as a player for nigh on 40 years, I’ve also appreciated his other talents. Of course he was great in Airplane! as co-pilot Roger Murdock.

I was also very impressed with his book Brothers in Arms: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion, WWII’s Forgotten Heroes about one of several African American tank battalions that served overseas in World War II.

Comes now, a wee bit of life advice from Mr. Jabar- what 66 year old Kareem would tell 30 year old Kareem. I wouldn’t subscribe to all 20 of his bullet points, but I would to the majority, and that’s not a bad average.

7. Be patient. Impatience is the official language of youth. When you’re young, you want to rush to the next thing before you even know where you are. I always think of the joke in Colors that the wiser and older cop (Robert Duvall) tells his impatient rookie partner (Sean Penn). I’m paraphrasing, but it goes something like: “There’s two bulls standing on top of a mountain. The younger one says to the older one: ‘Hey pop, let’s say we run down there and screw one of them cows.’ The older one says: ‘No son. Let’s walk down and screw ’em all.’” Now, to counter the profane with the profound, one of my favorite quotes is from the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer: “Talent hits the target no one else can hit; genius hits the target no one else can see.” I think the key to seeing the target no one else can see is in being patient, waiting for it to appear so you can do the right thing, not just the expedient thing. Learning to wait is one of my greatest accomplishments as I’ve gotten older.

Read more: Life Lessons with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – Kareem on What He Wished He’d Known – Esquire

It’s a quick, easy read, but worth it. Especially for you youngsters lurking out there.