Research-backed career advice from NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar holds the highly coveted spot of the NBA's all-time highest scorer. But that doesn't mean he's only focused on his own success

In fact, for the six-time NBA champion, having a team mentality is what defines a successful person. 

Boosting others up "is what leadership is about," Abdul-Jabbar told CNBC. 

"If you don't think about how what you do affects other people," he said, "you get lost."

Psychological research backs the pro athlete's advice to have a team-centric approach. 

Research by Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania professor and best-selling author Adam Grant found that helping others typically leads to more successful careers

Other psychological studies have found that focusing on others can increase happiness and productivity.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's 'Writings on the Wall'

"What matters isn't who crosses the finish line but that we did our best to boost the whole team," the now-retired athlete writes in his new book, "Writings on the Wall."

"The human race is a relay in which we all make our best run, then pass the baton to the next runner," he added.

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