Cultural Ambassador Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Touts Education in Brazil

Posted by Talley Sergent
January 25, 2012

Today, Hall-of-Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar kicked off his service as a Global Cultural Ambassador for the U.S. Department of State in Salvador, Brazil.

"I didn't expect to see such a big city here in this part of Brazil. I heard about Rio de Janeiro and I've been to Sao Paulo on my first trip to Brazil. But I didn't know they had big cities out here on the coast. It's quite a place," said Abdul-Jabbar.

Meeting in a community center in the recently pacified favela, Nordeste de Amaralina, Abdul-Jabbar stressed the importance of education as a means of empowerment both within Brazil and beyond.

"It was very rewarding for me today to talk to the young people about their education because a lot of them didn't understand how important it is. So I was happy to remind them that their education will supplement everything that they try to do as athletes and they seemed to be open to it. They asked really interesting questions and had an open mind it seemed to what I was saying," said Abdul-Jabbar.

Throughout Brazil, government officials and local partners are working together to pacify favelas -- or communities -- establishing local police stations to rid these communities of drugs and violence.

Abdul-Jabbar also traveled to Calabar, another favela that has been pacified for the last nine months, the first in Salvador. After discussing the importance of education and the opportunities it provides, Abdul-Jabbar hit the basketball court to shoot hoops with the kids.

"Playing basketball with the young people like this is something that reminds me of when I was a kid. It really reminds me of when I was in grade school and high school and tried to learn the game and all of my ambitions were right out there for everybody to see," Abdul-Jabbar said.

Get updates from the road, and follow along on Twitter as Cultural Ambassador Kareem Abdul-Jabbar travels to Salvador and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Related Content: Secretary Clinton Meets With Brazilian Youth Participating in the Youth Ambassadors Program



Pennsylvania, USA
January 25, 2012

Mike in Pennsylvania writes:

Great idea sending Kareem Abdul-Jabbar around as a cultural ambassador. He is a great role model: a successful athlete who is well-spoken and thoughtful.

richard s.
California, USA
January 27, 2012

Richard S. in California writes:

Honorable Sec. Clinton and Ambassador Jabbar.

Congratulations to both of you.

Sec. Clinton for nominating Ambassador Jabbar and Ambassador Jabbar for accepting this important position. As one Bruin to another I wish the very best success.


John B.
New York, USA
January 27, 2012

John B. in New York writes:

Kareem thank you for making a connection with these beautiful brothers and sisters of African descent.

Rafee K.
New York, USA
January 27, 2012

Rafee K. in New York writes:

Hi Kareem,

Thank you for helping to make the world a more humane environment.

Dapreis O.
Ohio, USA
February 21, 2012

Dapreis O. in Ohio writes:

Hello Kareem,

Congratulations on being named cultural ammbassador with the inportance of sharimg the power of education! As former international player,spreading the importance of education in other countries is imperative to growth and sucsess for young people around the world. No better person than Kareem to endorse the message .

Principal, Fairfield Academy


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