Elmo Morales is the owner of Elmo's Main Street T-Shirts and Elmo's Hideaway, both at 200 S. Main St. in downtown Ann Arbor, MI.

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Morales, a youthful 42, is a high school physical education teacher in Ann Arbor, Mich., but the business card he turned in his hand said: ELMO'S SUPER-SHIRTS, CUSTOM SCREEN PRINTING. On it he had written a personal note to Abdul-Jabbar. The T-shirt printing business is just a sideline, Morales said, "just a hole in the wall." Morales grew up in New York, where he and Kareem were junior high school friends. "He went to St. Jude's, and I went to P.S. 152," said Morales. "I lived on 182nd Street in Washington Heights, and he lived in the Dyckman projects. I was a runner, and he was a basketball player, but we were into jazz. We had a club called the Social Colleagues, about 18 of us. I think now it was a gang. We held dances at Africa House and charged 99 cents to get in. Kareem, he was Lew then, was sergeant at arms. He would collect the money at the door, and nobody would mess with him." The last time the two men had seen each other was in the spring of 1965, when Abdul-Jabbar paid a recruiting visit to the University of Michigan, where Morales was a freshman half-miler on a track scholarship.