HBO Sports producing documentary on life of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with Atty. Gen. Eric H Holder Jr. at the White House Correspondents' Assn. Dinner in Washington on May 3.
(Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)

Lakers Hall of Fame center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will be the subject of a new HBO documentary scheduled to be aired in early 2015.

HBO Sports, partnering with Mandalay Sports Media and Iconomy Multi-Media & Entertainment, says it has already begun production and photography of the film on the life and career of Abdul-Jabbar.

“Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a legendary figure and an American sports icon,” HBO Sports President Ken Hershman said in a statement. “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.”


Abdul-Jabbar is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points. He won five titles with the Lakers and one with the Milwaukee Bucks. Previously, he was a two-time national player of the year and won three NCAA championships at UCLA, when he was still known as Lew Alcindor.

The documentary will be directed by Ron Yassen and produced by Deborah Morales (“On the Shoulder of Giants”).

Mike Tollin (“Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream”) will serve as executive producer.

According to Tollin, 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.”

In addition to his career on the court, Abdul-Jabbar is an actor, author and political activist. In 2012 he was named a U.S. cultural ambassador by then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Abdul-Jabbar recently wrote a lengthy take on Clippers owner Donald Sterling for Time magazine.

“Make no mistake: Donald Sterling is the villain of this story,” he wrote. “But he’s just a handmaiden to the bigger evil. In our quest for social justice, we shouldn’t lose sight that racism is the true enemy. He’s just another jerk with more money than brains.”

Twitter: @EricPincus