It is believed that the Los Angeles Lakers returning to winning ways in the championship era was made largely by the play of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the 1980s. Kareem is considered among the most successful players ever played in the sport.
His influence upon the Lakers is well documented in HBO’s “Winning Time A: Rise of the Lakers Dynasty. The docuseries, which runs for ten episodes, explores the relationship of Kareem with his partner at the time, Cheryl Pistono, who had a significant impact on his life outside of the court. Let’s learn more about her, will we?
Who is Cheryl Pistono?
Cheryl was born in LaSalle, Illinois, leaving her family of working-class parents when she turned 16 years old. She later relocated to her West Coast home and attended high school there. She spoke about her time on the West Coast, saying she became “into the high-life.
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The time she spent hanging out at the home of Hugh Hefner, weekends spent in Las Vegas, stuff like that.” In the end, Cheryl turned to Buddhism and was introduced to Kareem around 1977. From the beginning, it seemed like an unlikely pairing due to the differences. Cheryl was ten years younger and did not know basketball. In fact, Cheryl didn’t even recognize Kareem at first.
She later spoke about her first encounter with Kareem telling him, “I had no interest in him since I’ve did not like people who were a part of the sport mentality. Despite everything else, he evidently was. He was expecting me to get swept away by him. The woman always did an expectation to fall, but one day I was surprised when he gave me a rose in his yard. He was serious and serious! I thought to myself, “Oh, I’ve got the person to smile. The only thing I could think of was not to hurt him.”
Throughout their entire romance, Kareem was vocal about how Cheryl had influenced his life more than his teachers, coaches, or teammates. The time when Kareem was not living in the same house with his wife Habiba, 1973. It wasn’t Cheryl who convinced Kareem to declare divorce. Cheryl also spoke to him about becoming more than only a participant but also an authority figure and the need to pay attention to what his fellow players were saying.
The couple remained together until 1984, and they had one daughter, Amir. In the mid-80s, Kareem sued his former business manager Thomas Collins. At the time, Cheryl said, “There is definitely a lot of lies and deceit. I asked, “What’s this person (Collins) doing with all this?” Kareem never asked that kind of question. I did, but Tom Collins didn’t like it.”
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Where is Cheryl Pistono Now?
After breaking up with Kareem, Cheryl married Steven Jenkins in 1985 and was blessed with a son. But she was still friendly with Kareem and said, “The reason we have an excellent relationship is that I don’t try to drag him back to those times and those problems. Doing that could cause more issues.
We came to a deal in honor of our son. It mattered more than anything else we disliked about each other.” While her present relationship status is unclear, Cheryl seems to live in Los Angeles, California, and her Facebook page states that she’s self-employed.