News & Opinion | February 16, 2018 9:44 am

Kareem Adbul-Jabbar on the Cultural Power of ‘Black Panther’

Abdul-Jabbar puts the predicted success of "Black Panther" into historical context.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar arrives at the premiere of Columbia Pictures' "Spider-Man: Homecoming" at TCL Chinese Theatre on June 28, 2017 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar arrives at the premiere of Columbia Pictures' "Spider-Man: Homecoming" at TCL Chinese Theatre on June 28, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
WireImage

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is just as excited for Friday’s release of Black Panther as everybody else. The NBA Hall of Famer wrote about the cultural significance of the movie, particularly what it means for a movie made by and starring black people to be a global box office hit, for The Hollywood Reporter. Abdul-Jabbar argues that T’Challa, Chadwick Boseman’s leading role, is the black movie hero for our times, the same way Sidney Poitier’s Virgil Tibbs was for the 1960s in In the Heat of the Night and Shaft was for the 1970s. Director Ryan Coogler echoed the singular importance of T’Challa in his conversation with Abdul-Jabbar. “Right now, superhero stories are kind of the modern myth-making,” Coogler told Abdul-Jabbar.