NBA legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s trophy case runneth over — but now he’s angling for an Emmy. He has nabbed six NBA MVP awards, six NBA Championships and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The New York native has also written numerous books and pens op-eds — about everything from whether LeBron James is the greatest basketball player ever to the midterm elections — for The Hollywood Reporter and The Guardian. Now he can add television scribe to his résumé: At age 71, he’s working as a staff writer on the upcoming reboot of the teen-detective TV series “Veronica Mars.” The outspoken Laker great, a divorced grandfather of one, talks to The Post about his unexpected career change, the one thing he’ll never get rid of — and the movie role that got away.
You’re pretty active on Twitter. Had social media been around when you were playing in the 1970s and ’80s, is there anything you would have brought more attention to?
There’s a lot of stuff that comes from just living my life — driving on the NJ Turnpike and being stopped because I was a black person driving an expensive car. I never wrote about it or complained. All black [people] have to deal with that. Cell cameras have exposed that black people have been singled out by white cops. It actually happens. Once we expose these things, sunlight is great for these situations.
Anything from your games?
I was right there standing on the court when Marvin Gaye sang the National Anthem at the All-Star Game [in 1983]. I would have taken pictures of that. The [Los Angeles] Forum was great for star-watching. Did you ever watch ‘The Munsters’? Fred Gwynne [Herman Munster] and Al Lewis [Grandpa] tried to never miss my games at UCLA.
How did you end up in the writer’s room for the “Veronica Mars” reboot?
[Show creator] Rob Thomas. There was a book he did called “Slave Day,” which I referred to [in an Orange County Register story] and he was flattered. I met Rob and had some ideas about doing a limited series about South Central Los Angeles. I needed some help with that. Rob was gracious enough to help . . . And he offered to bring me and my right-hand man, [writer] Raymond Obstfeld, in and invited us to help with the next season of “Veronica Mars.” It’s really helping us and we’re learning [how to write a show]. We had no experience. Now that I am learning this, it’s fascinating, man.
What ideas are you bringing to the table?
Me personally, not a whole lot. I’m trying to take it in and figure it out as I go along. I’m the rookie in the room . . . as it goes along I am able to contribute a little bit. You wait for that moment to happen.
What are you watching now?
The last show I binge-watched was “Atlanta.” I didn’t have [the FX network] on my cable so I had to figure out how to watch it.
You have an iconic role in the movie “Airplane,” as a co-pilot who denies he is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. You also appeared as yourself in “Fletch” and “BASEketball.” Ever turn down a part for being too goofy?
No, but there was a role I missed out on . . . the [one] that Andre the Giant had in “The Princess Bride.” I could have had it, but they shot the movie during basketball season. And I got the role in “Airplane” because Pete Rose couldn’t take it. They shot that during the summer and he was playing baseball.
You’re now auctioning off memorabilia — including game jerseys and championship rings — to benefit your Skyhook Foundation for underprivileged kids. What motivated you?
I had a fire [his Bel Air mansion was destroyed in 1983] and it helped me understand what things are all about — they are just things, and I am not in the museum business.
But there had to be one thing you wanted to keep, right?
Yeah, I have one of my MVP trophies. One of six. I kept one.
You became a special assistant coach to the Lakers in 2005 — 16 years after retirement. Why the delay?
I had a very unfortunate relationship with the press while I was playing, because I could be prickly. It was a transition, generation-wise. I was dealing with people [in the basketball world] who didn’t like Muhammad Ali — and I was a fan of Ali, and there was some antagonism. It got out that I didn’t like people. I was seen as a risk. But I finally got through that and coached with the Lakers for five or six years. It was a good experience. [By the time I retired,] I had burned out. And that was two or three years and . . . when that stopped, I started writing. [The burnout] forced me to do something else.
You collected a lot of hardware in the NBA. Which accomplishment means the most to you?
My children’s book [“What Color is My World,” published in 2012] that won the NAACP Image Award. I’m proud of that because it was significant for kids and the type of thing that lasts. Kids will be reaching for that book for hopefully time to come, especially black kids that don’t understand their own heritage.
Do you think modern-day athletes are doing a good job parlaying their spotlight into meaningful roles?
I thought [outspoken NFL quarterback Colin] Kaepernick did an incredible job. All that fire and he was still able to be on message . . . It was neat to see that Nike gave him some support there.
What’s next for you?
I always think of something new to try. I’m just enjoying life and it’s beautiful having my granddaughter and seeing my children do well. Amen. That’s all that counts.
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