By: Mike Stone

Kareem Abdul Jabbar will be the recipient of the Ford Freedom Award Scholar Thursday evening at the Charles H.Wright Museum of African American History. The scholar is a living individual who is recognized for demonstrating excellence on a national or international level in the field of the award recipient.

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Jabbar is the NBA all-time leading scorer but to Piston fans, he is best remembered for being the recipient of a phantom foul by Bill Laimbeer in game 6 of the 1988 NBA Finals. Jabbar hit two free throws which enabled the Lakers to win the game, evening the series at 3-3 and keeping the Pistons from the championship. Jabbar sees it a little differently. “Check the tape; he made contact with my body. It was a good call.”

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Thursday’s ceremony will take place in Detroit, a few miles from the site of Jabbar’s first games against the Pistons, Cobo Arena. He looks upon those days fondly especially the music. “They had the best organ player in the league.” He had to play with a band. The place was always jumping, it certainly was not Music”. Those Piston teams were led by a guy who is now the mayor of Detroit, and Kareem remembers Dave Bing fondly, “I am just glad that I did not have to guard him, that job belonged to my teammates.”

Jabbar also talked about his place in basketball history and his role in the movie Airplane. You can listen to the whole interview here.

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