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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar commemorates Athlete of the Year at Printers Row Lit Fest
posted in: Community
by Alex Williams

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar headlines Lit Fest; Athlete of the Year

From reminiscing about being stranded in a snow storm in Chicago in the 1970s, to sharing
how he was taught how to properly put on socks before practice, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar guided his audience through the pages of his latest book during the 33rd Annual Printers Row Lit Fest in Chicago on June 11.

Abdul-Jabbar’s fond memories of his mentor came alive during his talk with Richard Roeper about the book “Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off the Court,” in Jones College Prep gymnasium.

One-of-a-kind congratulations

The interview was held before the 2017 High School Athlete of the Year presentation sponsored by COUNTRY Financial.

The special session offered a means for the organization to commemorate the winning students’ achievements and following the interview, the athletes were recognized with a pizza party where the record six-time NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) made a cameo.

During the excitement, the basketball champion snapped a few selfies with the players and COUNTRY Financial gave each student a plaque and an autographed copy of his book. In addition, the organization made a $500 contribution to the program.

About the contest

The High School Athlete of the Month contest recognizes young athletes who’ve made their mark at the pool, court, field and course.

The athletes are chosen by a panel of judges from the Suburban Tribune sports team throughout the year. Students are recognized not only for their superior athleticism, but because they’ve achieved success as leaders in their high school and community.

Once chosen, community members vote for their favorite athlete and COUNTRY Financial makes a donation to each winning athlete’s school.

Since the program began in 2013, COUNTRY Financial has donated nearly $50,000 to Chicagoland area high schools on behalf of their Athlete of the Month award recipients. To date, there have been 180 winners.

For more about the program head to

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