The New York Times

By the Book: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Hold for release: This article may not be posted online, broadcast or published before 12:01 a.m. Eastern on Sunday, June 4, 2017.

Q: What books are currently on your night stand?

A: “Lives of Master Swordsmen,” by Makoto Sugawara, furthers my interest in martial arts that began shortly before Bruce Lee became my teacher. The book explores the swordsmen of medieval Japan and the influence they had on the country. For me, the book is about the convergence of art and athleticism, and its effect on politics. I’ve always been fascinated by people who push themselves to become the best they possibly can be at something that combines intellect and movement. And how their achievements affect their society.

I’m also rereading a favorite novel from when I was in high school, “Dem,” by a great but often overlooked African-American writer, William Melvin Kelley. This satire peels back some uncomfortable layers of how the races see each other and is just as relevant today as it was in 1967, when it was published.

Q: What’s the last great book you read?

A: “Between the World and Me,” by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

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