A Season on the Reservation:My Soujourn With the White Mountain Apaches by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar & Stephen Singular

Published: 01/01/2000

If anyone could be called a living legend in the world of pro sports, Kareem isthat figure. Dubbed “history’s greatest basketball player” by“Time Magazine,” Abdul-Jabbar will live forever in NBA lore, but evenlegends can find themselves at a crossroads.

Tired of life in Los Angeles, disillusioned with the state of basketball, and devastatedby the recent death of his mother, Kareem accepted an invitation from the WhiteMountain Apache tribe in Arizona to coach high school basketball on their reservation.He jumps at the offer but encounters a complex reality: the kids on the AlchesayFalcons teams don’t easily embrace what he’s trying to teach them, yetgradually they learn from him and he learns from them. He teaches them to get outof their comfort zone and try new things, both in sports and in life. In return,they rekindle his passion for the game and the book describe this mutual processof discovery. Kareem connects with the kids and their customs, while finding newtruths about the links between Native Americans, African Americans, and the inter-racialcore of our nation’s heritage.

This is a story about the things we have in common and the things that still divideus in terms of race and history. We get to know the kids, their families, the coaches,the town of Whiteriver, Alchesay High, and the tribe — but most of all we get closerto Kareem. Well into middle age, he wrote the book to give back, but in doing sohe received more than he ever gave.