Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a NBA legend in his own right, and perhaps, one of the best basketball players to have ever lived. So, when he speaks, people tend to listen. After all, he’s lived the celebrity life and has now had a chance to focus on much bigger, philanthropic endeavors.
In the wake of the attacks made on Gayle King after her Kobe Bryant comments to WNBA star, Lisa Leslie, Abdul-Jabbar felt compelled to write a newspaper column condemning the attacks and the immediate implications of high-profile people lashing out against the host.
The column in question was published by The Hollywood Reporter and specifically called out Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent‘s vitriolic bashing they sent King’s way. Although, the former basketball player did acknowledge that while the rants were coming ‘from a place of deep grief’, they still represent misogynistic sentiments, as well as, perpetuate ‘negative stereotypes about how black men perceive and treat women’.
“When a man calls a woman a b— because she does something he doesn’t like, he is nourishing the already rampant misogyny in society. But when a black man does it, he is perpetuating negative stereotypes about how black men perceive and treat women,” the 72-year-old wrote. “That is harmful to the entire African-American community.”
Most people will remember Kobe as the magnificent athlete who inspired a whole generation of basketball players. But I will always remember him as a man who was much more than an athlete. pic.twitter.com/9EZuwk8wrV
— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (@kaj33) January 26, 2020
For Abdul-Jabbar, the massively large social media following Snoop and 50 Cent have is increasingly worrisome due to the influence that their comments have on the younger generations that look up to them and how they treat others.
“[They’re] influencing a younger generation of men to continue to refer to women who don’t do what men want as b—es. Worse, King started receiving death threats,” he said. Abdul-Jabbar did acknowledge that Snoop had since apologized to King and said ‘fame is unforgiving’.
— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (@kaj33) January 9, 2020
The former basketball legend explained how people who don’t have fame are given privacy, for the most part, when they make mistakes. Celebrities? Not so much. “Most people who make mistakes in their lives have a degree of privacy within which they can heal and redeem themselves. With the famous, nothing is forgotten and rarely is anything forgiven,” Kareem explained.
“The case was dismissed and Kobe redeemed himself many times over with his exemplary life since. To me, Kobe was even more exceptional because he learned from his mistakes and devoted himself to being a better person.”
In conclusion, Abdul-Jabbar asked people to appreciate and champion the person for who they were, flaws and all. For him, it’s life’s journey and one showing that they can make amends for mistakes, which truly make that person great.
“Few have that kind of strength, courage, or commitment,” Abdul-Jabbar continued. “We can love and respect Kobe without canonizing him as perfect. Death often immortalizes the ideal rather than the real. But it was the real Kobe, flaws and all, that we should love.”
“Kobe would not have appreciated the attacks against Gayle King because he know they perpetuated a climate of disrespect that would be physically, mentally, and socially harmful toward all women, including his wife and daughters.”