Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on Cooking for Dates and Other Wisdom

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Los Angeles Lakers v Philadelphia SixersOver at Esquire, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has penned a piece called “20 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Was 30.” It’s a clever and charming tome that reveals plenty about the athlete as a person, plus he gives some pretty insightful tips, particularly when it comes to dating. Here’s a sampler of Kareem’s wisdom.

On cooking for dates:

11. Cook more. After I got divorced I missed home cooked meals and the only person I had to rely on was the guy in the mirror. Plus, I found it impressed women if you could cook a good meal. Once, very shortly after I started cooking for myself, I had a first date with a woman I really wanted to make a good impression on. Of course, I could have done the usual celebrity thing: fancy restaurant, signing autographs, wait-staff fawning. But I wanted this to be special, so I decided to cook for her, everything from soup to dessert. Some women get a little freaked seeing a 7’2” black man with a carving knife and butcher’s apron, but she appreciated the effort. Which was good because the soup was a little salty, the steak a little overcooked, and the flan a little watery…

On choosing your partner:

12. When choosing someone to date, compassion is better than passion. I’m not saying she shouldn’t be passionate. That’s a given. But look for signs that she shows genuine compassion toward others. That will keep you interested in her a lot longer.

On being right:

10. Being right is not always the right thing to be. Kareem, my man, learn to step away. You think being honest immunizes you from the consequences of what you say. Remember Paul Simon’s lyrics, “There’s no tenderness beneath your honesty.” So maybe it’s not that important to win an argument, even if you “know” you’re right. Sometimes it’s more important to try a little tenderness.

On breakups:

17. When breaking up with a woman, you can’t always remain friends. I have managed to stay friends with many of the women I have dated because I truly liked and respected them. But sometimes emotions run too deep and efforts to remain friends, while that might help you feel better, actually might make the other person feel worse. Take the hit and let it go.