Habiba Abdul-Jabbar rose to fame as the ex-wife of basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Kareem’s exploits on and off the court have made him somewhat of a living legend. During his career in the NBA, he won six NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards and was a record 19-time NBA All-Star which contributed to him being named amongst the greatest basketball players of all time. After retiring, he became a best-selling author, social activist, and cultural critic. His work here earned him a Presidential Medal of Freedom among other honors.
Unfortunately, while Abdul achieved greatness in his career, his marriage suffered and ended in divorce. Habiba has since stepped away from the spotlight, with almost nothing said about her in the mainstream media. We’ve however been able to uncover a few things.
Habiba Abdul-Jabbar Biography Summary
- Full Name: Habiba Abdul-Jabbar
- Birth Name: Janice Brown
- Education: Cal State
- Ethnicity: African American
- Nationality: American
- Religion: Muslim
- Marital Status: Divorced
- Habiba Abdul-Jabbar Ex-husband: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (m. 1971–1978)
- Children: 3 (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Jr., Sultana Abdul-Jabbar, Habiba Abdul-Jabbar)
- Facebook: RunHabiba Run
Habiba Abdul-Jabbar was Born into a Christian Family
Many details about the early life and family of Habiba Abdul-Jabbar are not known. What is, however, public knowledge is the fact that she is a native of Los Angeles and was born into a Christian home. Her name at birth was Janice Brown and not Habiba as the world knows her today.
For her education, she attended California State University. It was during her time in college that she began dating her future husband Kareem.
She First Met Kareem at a Lakers Game
Habiba’s path first crossed with that of Kareem, a senior at UCLA at the time, at a Lakers game. She was, however, dating Lakers player Cliff Anderson so nothing ensued. On one occasion when Cliff, Kareem, and others were going out, they stopped by her place to pick her up. Kareem noted in his book Giant Steps that she was a bright, pleasant, and attractive young lady.
Several months later, Kareem made the bold decision of going to visit her at home. He recalled where he and his friends had gone to pick her up so he dropped by. Luckily, Habiba still lived there and welcomed him with open arms. The pair got talking, exchanging phone calls, and he would invite her to come to watch one of his games at UCLA.
While things later appeared to have drifted apart between them, they rekindled their friendship months later as Kareem had been drafted to play in Milwaukee. Habiba would always visit him there and they maintained a relationship that would lead them to become man and wife.
Habiba Abdul-Jabbar converted to Islam to Marry Kareem
Kareem was urged to get married by his spiritual leader but he feared that he was not able to do so because th woman he loved was a Christian. Regardless, he asked Habiba if she would consider looking into the religion and she said yes. While Kareem confessed that she might have been more into him than the religion, she still went ahead to study it before converting and switching her name from Janice to Habiba.
Habiba and Kareem would later exchange marital vows on the 28th of May, 1971.
They Divorced After Seven Years and Three Kids Together
Life as a married couple was hard for both Habiba and Kareem. The pair only managed to live together for two years before separating in 1973. Despite this, they were still able to have kids; Habiba, Sultana, and Kareem Jr., before officially ending their marriage in 1978. It is said that Habiba was 3 months pregnant with her third child when her husband dropped the bomb on her. The marriage was subsequently dissolved through a religious ceremony and later in a civil court.
Much isn’t known about daughter Sultana unlike her other daughter Habiba and son Kareem Jr. The younger Habiba is an accomplished writer and social justice advocate while her brother Kareem Jr. is known for having tried to have a professional basketball career like his father. He played basketball at Western Kentucky after attending Valparaiso University but was still unable to make it to the NBA.
What Happened to Habiba Abdul-Jabbar After the Divorce
Habiba moved far away as possible from the spotlight after her divorce from the NBA superstar. She is said to have remarried in 1986 and gave birth to a son named Sean. Her ex-husband would go on to have numerous more children, including one with a woman known as Cheryl Pistino who was said to have influenced Kareem to end things with her.
According to her Facebook page, Habiba also spends her time creating new pieces for her clothing brand, Tutu Glam.