The NBA Hall of Famer, who coached the USBL's Oklahoma Storm last season, is now an analyst on CBS Sport's college basketball coverage.
SI: When you played you saw yourself as a Miles Davis or John Coltrane, someone who was a great soloist. How do you see yourself now?
Abdul-Jabbar: Now my hero is Count Basie. When you coach, you realize what it means to try and get a whole lot of people together with different personalities and get them to perform well night in and night out.
SI: You've said that Muslims should "reach out and explain that the Bin Laden people use religion as an excuse for political aims." Can you do that as a network basketball analyst?
Abdul-Jabbar: I don't know if I can overtly reach out like that as an analyst, to just come out and make pronouncements. But I hope that people will see that I am a patriotic American and that my [Muslim] beliefs have nothing to do with what these Bin Laden people are talking about.
SI: If the coaching job at UCLA, your alma mater, opens up, will you pursue that position?
SI: Do you think they would consider you?
Abdul-Jabbar: I think they will. I don't have an extensive history of coaching but I coached a team to a championship last year in the USBL and I know a lot about winning on every level. So I think that would get me in the door.
SI: You babysat for little Brandon Lee, Bruce Lee's son, when the boy lived in Beverly Hills in the 1970s. Were you a good babysitter?