Kareem Abdul-Jabbar donates $100,000 to help local students study STEM

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Friday, May 3, 2019
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar makes an impact with students through STEM
Former Laker Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has donated $100,000 to a camp to help inner-city students study science, technology, engineering and math.

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE, Calif. (KABC) -- Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar continues to make a great impact on society off the court. He donated $100,000 to a local camp to help inner-city students study science, technology, engineering and math.

The greatest scorer in NBA history is using an assist to build another legacy.

"Kids need to get some mentoring, and I felt that science, technology, engineering and math - that's where all the good jobs are going to be in the 21st century," Abdul-Jabbar said.

Abdul-Jabbar has always believed that his greatest asset in life was not his physical skills, but rather his mind. That's why he donated $100,000 to what is now known as Sky Hook Camp in the Angeles National Forest above La Cañada Flintridge.

"When they're in the classroom, the kids in the back, they are like somewhere else. But out here in nature, all the kids are involved, they have things in their hands, they ask questions of each other," Abdul-Jabbar said.

School officials agree, asserting the effort paves the way for students' futures.

"It wakes up students to a world out there, a work force that will make them stronger. But this experience actually builds in their thoughts where they can go next," said Vivian Ekchian, Los Angeles Unified School District deputy superintendent.

Nature, Abdul-Jabbar says, has a way of touching the soul through the unplugging of technology.

"I felt addicted to my iPad back home, and since I came here without the iPad, I felt more relieved, I felt less stressed," student Dylan Hernandez said.

Abdul-Jabbar said the trip into nature is a first for many students.

"A lot of them have never left the inner city and this is their first time out in the wilderness," he said.

STEM, with help from Abdul-Jabbar, is a slam dunk of success.