Kingsbridge resident outshines her famous dad

Habiba Alcindor
Photo by Lia Chang

Being a jack of all trades will take you to different places.

For Habiba Alcindor, it has brought her back to the city her father grew up in.

Alcindor, born in Washington D.C. in 1972, grew up in the City of Los Angeles alongside her father, Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr. also known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, one of the biggest names in the professional basketball world.

Habiba changed her birth-given surname – Abdul-Jabbar – to her grandparents name, Alcindor, to reflect her own heritage.

In fact she had shied away from her father’s fame to claim a name of her own, both literally and figuratively.

Today Alcindor is a screenplay writer, producer, and journalist among other professions.

Her skills led her to jobs at the magazine The Nation, Paper Tiger Television and even the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

When she first moved to New York, it was almost like a dream come true for her.

Coming to the Bronx presented an even more unique experience for her, though she said the Bronx really is no different from anywhere in the city she had lived previously.

“When I first got here, the Bronx had this mythology about it. People would tell me, “Oh don’t go to the Bronx,” said Alcindor, who has also lived in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

“But there’s a lot of history here that a lot of people don’t know about,” she explained.

As a creative and social justice activist, Alcindor has drawn inspiration from all of New York City, but the Bronx showed her something more.

“I like the intensity of the Bronx and, at least, my neighborhood is not totally homogenized with Whole Foods and Starbucks and Apple (stores),” she explained. “It still has its flavor and character and I appreciate that because it’s the real New York.”

To date, Alcindor has been working on releasing her television series, Gold Rush, a creative drama show loosely based on the ‘Showtime Lakers’ and her own experience being in a family of a prominent sports figure.

While there has been no set release date, Alcindor mentioned the show was fully cast and awaiting interest.

But living here has been exciting for her, with new collaborations appearing on her horizon as an advocate for media equality.

Earlier this year for example, one of the organizations she is affiliated with launched a New York-exclusive free online television streaming service created to help cut the cost of cable, called

The organization in particular, the Sports Fan Coalition, is a group that advocates for sports fans as consumers in the media market.

“To think of fans as valuable or needing a voice was important because no one really considers them when they think of sports,” said Alcindor.

Alcindor said her work as an advocate for equality in media and as a social justice activist were inspired by her upbringing at home and her life in L.A. as well as her career as a journalist.

Reach Reporter Sarah Valenzuela at (718) 260-4584. E-mail her at

More from Around NYC