The State Department’s new ambassador: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

The State Department’s new ambassador: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton named a new cultural ambassador today: the NBA all-time leading scorer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

"I am excited and honored to serve my country as a Cultural Ambassador for the U.S. Department of State," Abdul-Jabbar said after his Wednesday meeting with Clinton at the State Department. "I look forward to meeting with young people all over the world and discussing ways in which we can strengthen our understanding of one another through education, through sports, and through greater cultural tolerance."

Next week, he will travel to Brazil to put on basketball clinics with disadvantaged youth there — using that as a means to talk about education, social and racial tolerance, and cultural understanding in Salvador and Rio de Janeiro.

The State Department notice on his appointment said that Abdul-Jabbar touted his soon-to-be-released documentary "On the Shoulders of Giants," and his Skyhook Foundation, which works to improve children’s lives through education and sports.

In June 2011, Abdul-Jabbar was honored at the White House by President Barack Obama and received the Lincoln Medal from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. The medal honors Abdul-Jabbar’s commitment to education and equality which reflects the legacy of President Abraham Lincoln.