Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shares how he landed famous role in ‘Airplane!’
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s appearance as pilot Roger Murdock in the 1980 film “Airplane!” is one of the most famous athlete cameos in cinema history, and Abdul-Jabbar shared the story about how it came to be.
During a Twitter Q&A session on Monday, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer received a question about how he ended up in the film. Abdul-Jabbar replied that the producers of the movie turned to him after they could not get baseball great Pete Rose, also adding that he had the time because he was on summer break from the NBA. The Hall of Fame great noted too how the directors of “Airplane!” hailed from Wisconsin, where he played for many years with the Milwaukee Bucks.
The producers picked me after they couldn't use Pete Rose. And since I was on summer vacation I had the time to make the film. And The Zucker Brothers are also from Wisconsin https://t.co/oVnH38ab9K
— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (@kaj33) March 24, 2020
While Rose was probably just as big as Abdul-Jabbar was at the time, hearing him griping to little Joey about dragging Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan up and down the field for nine innings just wouldn’t have been the same. After all, the cameo as is was absolutely glorious.
The film’s directors had their own funny story about Kareem’s participation, so it’s good to hear his version of things as well.