Kareem Abdul-Jabbar May Regret His Criticism of LeBron James, But He’s Still Right

Despite retiring more than three decades ago, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar remains a prominent fixture in the sports scene. He has worked to use his voice through the written word and interviews to stay abreast of social issues. Abdul-Jabbar has kept a strong pulse over the NBA, where he’s commented on the off-the-court dealings involving star players such as LeBron James.

The legendary former Los Angeles Lakers big man again voiced a strong criticism toward what he believes are missteps by James. Although Abdul-Jabbar aired regret with his latest remarks, he remains right in his stance.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar criticizes LeBron James

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar attends an NBA awards event. | Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Turner Sports

Abdul-Jabbar has become a prominent voice in the social realm.

The former Lakers star once again aired stern comments directed toward some of James’ off-the-court decisions. Abdul-Jabbar holds tremendous respect for the 18-time All-Star for his skill as a basketball player while appreciating many of his ventures away from his craft.

However, the Hall of Fame big man believes that some of James’ actions were “beneath him.” That includes Abdul-Jabbar’s previously criticizing the 37-year-old for his handling of COVID-19 in public comments in which he used a meme that equated the virus to the common cold and the flu.

All that led the six-time NBA champion to voice that he would welcome speaking to James about those matters.

“I wouldn’t mind doing it if he would take the time. I definitely got the time,” Abdul-Jabbar said via Dan Woike of the LA Times. “I admire the things that he’s done that have gotten all our attention. Sending a whole school to college? Wow. That’s amazing. His thoughtfulness and willingness to back it up with his wallet, you got to give him credit for that.

“So I’m not throwing stones. I just wish he wouldn’t — you know, some of the things he’s done, he should be embarrassed about. That’s just where I’m coming from.”

Abdul-Jabbar holds unwavering support for the star forward eventually surpassing him as the league’s all-time leading scorer but underlined potential issues off the court.

“I’m all for him doing it. There’s no envy there,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “I just — with the issues I was talking about, things that really affect the Black community, he should be careful. That’s all I’m asking.”

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar regrets ‘off-handed’ comments made toward LeBron James

Hours after making his strong criticism of LeBron James, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar went to social media to voice regret for his remarks.

The Hall of Famer stated that he made an “off-handed response” that he believes became blown out of proportion. He emphasized his respect and admiration toward James.

“LeBron is still the daunting hero I described two years ago. He’s still a major force in improving lives in the Black Community,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “He’s still one of the greatest basketball players in history. He’s still a man who has earned the overwhelming admiration of millions. And every day he goes out and proves why he deserves that admiration.

“On occasion I have chided LeBron when I thought he was dropping the ball when it came to supporting the community. But I did so in the spirit of a loving older brother offering guidance, whether wanted or not. So, when I said that he has done some things he should be embarrassed about, that wasn’t a slam or a barb or even a finger wag, it was me recapping some of what I’d said in the past.”

Although Abdul-Jabbar cleared the air regarding his criticism, he stands firm with his position as a guiding light for James and other athletes to aspire to follow and look up to as a champion for social justice.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shines a light on how LeBron James could best utilize his platform

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar may regret the criticism toward LeBron James, but his stance holds plenty of water.

The 37-year-old may be an athlete, but his platform goes well beyond any basketball court. He has voiced that notion on numerous occasions through his Uninterrupted company. That alone places significant weight and importance on his words regarding matters away from basketball.

James has significant influence with tens of millions of followers via social media, giving him a reach that many other athletes do not and will not ever possess. He has certainly created a lot of change through his platform with social awareness and other initiatives. He has created a school for underprivileged children in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. Meanwhile, he has remained outspoken about social injustices that continue to occur.

However, James has fallen short with his remarks regarding COVID-19. He shrugged his shoulders on the importance of the matter, contributing to the hesitancy regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. His refusal to talk about getting vaccinated pushed away an opportunity to provide a positive influence.

Abdul-Jabbar’s remarks in totality, sit aimed toward the star forward best utilizing his platform to impact social matters. James is well aware of the gravity of his words and actions, and Abdul-Jabbar is simply underlining that.

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