Heard on the streets of Cambridge.
In 2004, Richard Axel won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for the “discoveries of odorant receptors and the organization of the olfactory system”.
As a teenager in NYC, he attended Stuyvesant High School, one of the most competitive public schools in the nation, an institution that focuses on math and science excellence. His height made him a key player of his high school’s basketball team.
Axel recalls his most memorable experience as part of the team; it was when he faced on the court Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor, the other team’s center. Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor would later change his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the highest scoring player in NBA history.
Axel has the ball, and tries to pass Alcindor’s defense on the left. Alcindor stops him. Axel goes to the right, Alcindor stops him again. Face to face, Abdul-Jabbar says to Axel:
“So, which way are you going to go now, Einstein?”
After intimidating the Nobel Laureate, Kareem proceeded to score about 50 points in that game.
Nobel Prize vs. NBA? NBA wins.
“Any sufficiantly advanced technology is indistinguishable from a yo-yo.” -Enoch Root
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