Sunday, June 26, 2011

Playing against Kareem in high school

I continued to play basketball in [Stuyvesant] high school and this led to a most memorable and humbling experience. I came onto the court as the starting center, and the center on the opposing team from Power Memorial High School lumbered out on the court, a lanky 7 foot 2 inch sixteen year old. When I was first passed the ball, he put his hands in front of my face, looked at me and asked, "What are you going to do, Einstein?" I did rather little. He scored 54 points and I scored two. He was the young Lew Alcindor, later known as Karim Abdul Jabar, who went on to be among the greatest basketball legends and I became a neurobiologist.
--Medicine Nobel laureate Richard Axel on greatnesses colliding