Student Well-Being

NBA Great Named Calif. After-School STEM Ambassador

By Bryan Toporek — October 15, 2012 1 min read
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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the National Basketball Association’s all-time leading scorer, will be promoting the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects over the next year as California’s After-School STEM Ambassador, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced Monday.

Torlakson revealed the news about Abdul-Jabbar at the third annual California STEM Summit, where the basketball superstar was set to deliver a keynote address toward the end of the day.

“If America is to maintain our high standard of living, we must continue to innovate,” said Abdul-Jabbar in a statement. “We are competing with nations many times our size, and STEM learning represents the engines of innovation. With these engines, we can lead the world, because knowledge is real power.”

As California After-School STEM Ambassador, Abdul-Jabbar will make appearances at after-school programs around the state over the next year to promote STEM education. The California STEM Learning Network, which my colleague Nora Fleming wrote extensively about earlier this year, convened the STEM Summit in its mission to improve STEM education throughout the state.

Believe it or not, Abdul-Jabbar has invested considerable time promoting STEM education over the past few years. Through his Skyhook Foundation, which he started in 2009, Abdul-Jabbar has been actively promoting the importance of STEM education and STEM-related careers.

On Jan. 18, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton appointed Abdul-Jabbar as a U.S. Global Cultural Ambassador. In that role, which he’ll continue throughout the rest of 2012, Abdul-Jabbar has been traveling around the world to discuss the importance of education and cultural tolerance.

Earlier this summer, he also spoke at

A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.