OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The tallest man in the room, the basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was inspired by the soaring achievement of these Oakland young men and women, each winning the state basketball championship for their high schools.
For the Oakland Tech woman's team, it was their third title.
For Oakland High, it was the team's first state championship.
On Wednesday, there were many accolades followed by words of advice from the Superintendent of California schools, Tony Thurmond.
"I want you to use the education that has been provided because you all are champion scholar-athletes," expressed Thurmond.
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It was Thurmond who asked six-time NBA champion Abdul-Jabbar to spread his message of education. The former basketball great now has a foundation called Skyhook which focuses on teaching students about science, technology, engineering, arts and math.
"But if you get that education, the only limits on where you go, are the limits that you put on that," said Abdul-Jabbar.
He grew up in Harlem and recently wrote a book about the New York Rens, the first all Black men's basketball team formed in 1923.
Each team member in Oakland was given a signed copy.
"Eventually the ball stops bouncing so wherever it takes you, I think all the coaches and people who supported you hope you can take what you learned in basketball and move forward in your life," Mari Somvichian, the co-captain of the Oakland Tech Women's Basketball Team.
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For Dylan Cooper who plays for Oakland High, basketball has given him needed structure.
"You can't fail unless you choose to," he added.
Perhaps the best advice given by a champion of the sport is that education is, that shot that cannot be blocked.
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