Kareem: Minority of One full movie review - The tall guy
For people outside of the USA, Kareem Abdul Jabbar was that tall basketball player who fought Bruce Lee in Game of Death or appeared as a pilot in Airplane, trying to pretend he was not the famous basketball player.
When BBC television started to show US Basketball in the late 1980s, Kareem was by then a venerable veteran whose best days were behind him and it was Magic Johnson who was the man in the Lakers team
This HBO documentary tries to delve into the man who was always rather prickly with the media. As Kareem mentions once after a bitter defeat in a school competition where he showed his emotions he later vowed to keep his game face on. That face stayed on for decades and even in this documentary we rarely get to hear what he really thinks.
Kareem regrets he did not spend time with his children from his first marriage and even now it looks he is distant from them. Yet apart the words of regret we get nothing more. The Muslim sect involved in his conversion kept him having contact from his parents for many years, we get again nothing as to why he was distant from them and whether he regretted this. He fell out with a mentor Wilt Chamberlain who was very uncomplimentary about Kareem in interviews but Kareem never really gives his side of the story.
Of course you get to know something about Kareem, his shyness about his size as a teenager, his early beginnings in college basketball where he soon made a name for himself, when he turned professional and of course the glory days in the 1980s with the LA Lakers who were the glamour team.
You get to see Karrem enjoying his interests such as jazz, a passion inspired by his father, many valuable records he had were destroyed in a house fire. His interests in martial arts which led to a close friendship with Bruce Lee.
There was also a dark side with Kareem who would sometimes lash out in the court against opponents. The film although shows his retirement tour where even rivals applauded his contribution to basketball, it kind of stops once he retired and tells us virtually nothing of what he has been up to since then. He obviously did not take up coaching, did he want to? His brush with cancer got a mere sentence.
It was an interesting documentary but I always get the feeling that Kareem is still hiding in the shadows.