Last night, I had the pleasure of spending some quality time with NBA Hall of Famer and all-time leading scorer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the charismatic former Governor of Minnesota, Jesse “The Body” Ventura. I interviewed both at Bookends in Ridgewood, NJ on seemingly unrelated business – both had books coming out and I wanted to speak to both for a currently in-production, yet-to-launch project for broadcast in the Lehigh Valley. After both heard of my background with Phillies Nation and Phillies Nation TV, the conversation quickly turned to baseball.
Decked in a retro Brooklyn Dodgers hat and a “42” jacket honoring the great Jackie Robinson, the six-time NBA champion Abdul-Jabbar was very transparent with his allegiance. “I went to Ebbets Field twice as a kid,” the native New Yorker and alumnus of Power Memorial Academy said. “This is (the Dodgers’) year, man. This year, they have all the bats and they have the pitching.” Abdul-Jabbar went on to list odds-on Cy Young favorite Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke as anchors of a staff that seems destined for a deep run in the playoffs. Abdul-Jabbar was there to meet the readers of his ninth and newest book “Sasquatch in the Paint”, a fictional children’s story based on his childhood. “It’s always wonderful to meet these kids,” Jabbar told me.
Abdul-Jabbar currently operates the Skyhook Foundation to improve lives through sports and education. For more information, please click here.
I met the Governor sometime shortly thereafter. Ventura and I quickly commiserated around not having a horse in the playoff race. The Governor has been a loyal Twins support since their 1961 inception and swears he can just about recite the entire 1987 and 1991 play-by-play broadcasts. Ventura had particularly fond memories of Games 6 and 7.
“I remember watching the broadcast (of Game Six) and there was Jack Buck with the call ‘And we’ll see you tomorrow night.’ after (Kirby) Puckett’s home run. And then the next night, next game rather, Jack Morris pitched the greatest game in baseball history. I remember Danny Gladden scoring on (Gene) Larkin’s single. What a great Series.”
Governor Ventura was there to talk to readers about his new book about the assassination of JFK and stayed for a few hours, doing Q&A with readers and fans. You too can meet Governor Ventura at his next signing at 7 PM on Monday October 7 at the Barnes and Noble on Rutgers University’s campus.
Footage of these interviews will air on Phillies Nation TV on the Comcast Network and Comcast SportsNet and on my upcoming project with FireRock Productions for the Lehigh Valley. You are not going to want to miss what Abdul-Jabbar has to say about playing against Moses Malone and Dr. J and you will want to catch Jesse’s memories of wrestling in Allentown and Philadelphia!
I would like to thank Debra of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s team, Jen of Jesse Ventura’s team, and Pat of Bookends for helping organize these interviews.