JABALI: A Kansas City Legend

299 pgs, gallery of 20 black and white photographs from Jabali’s high school, college and ABA careers.

Order from area booksellers.


Interviews with former players and coaches, two essays authored by Jabali, details surrounding the naming of the Kansas City Interscholastic League Court in Jabali’s honor, the Odyssey of Black Men in America, an event in which Jabali played a prominent role, Jabali’s connection to Sumner High School, Wichita State University, and the American Basketball Association, among other items concerning Jabali’s career and the time during which he played.

From the back cover

“Warren Armstrong was the smartest player I ever coached.” — Alex Hannum, NBA/ABA Coach

“He was one of the toughest, most competitive players I ever coached.” — Al Bianchi, NBA/ABA Coach

“If he would have played in the NBA for any length of time, he would have been among the 50 greatest players of all time. No question. You can take that to the bank.” — Fatty Taylor, Washington Capitols (ABA)

This book tells the story of Warren (Armstrong) Jabali, a remarkably gifted person who played basketball in Kansas City in the early 1960s. It does not tell the entire story of his life but it does tell the story of his career, and to a considerable extent, the story of his intellectual life and the impact he had on others.

After high school, Warren starred at Wichita State University where, at 6’2”, he ranks among its all-time leaders in points, rebounds and assists. In the American Basketball Association (ABA), he was Rookie of the Year, four times an All-Star, and Most Valuable Player in the 1973 ABA All-Star game.

Jabali, in Swahili, means a large, conspicuous rock. It is the name Warren adopted in announcing his commitment to the African-American community. His principal concern from the time he left college was, in his words, “the standing of African-American people in the human community.”

This book is an effort to keep alive his memory in the Kansas City area and beyond. It is rare that a young man in high school so electrifies a community. Rare, also, that he should go on a journey that—through trials and tribulations—rendered him a hero to so many.

David Thomas, PhD