The NBA’s all-time leading scorer — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — was highly critical of LeBron James on Sunday, saying that the four-time NBA champion should be “embarrassed” by some of the things he’s done. On Tuesday, Abdul-Jabbar apologized, saying he never intended to criticize the Los Angeles Lakers star.
“All I have to say is this: I was there to give Carmelo Anthony the Social Justice Champion Award. I’ve been talking to the press since high school. That’s 60 years of making statements. And I haven’t always gotten it right. And Sunday was one of those nights,” Abdul-Jabbar said on Sirius XM NBA radio Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“It wasn’t my intention to criticize LeBron in any way,” Abdul-Jabbar continued. “He’s done so much for the black community as well as for the game of basketball. We may not always agree, but I want to whole-heartedly apologize to LeBron and make it clear to him that I have tremendous respect for him. If he can accept that, I’ll be very happy.”
On Sunday, Abdul-Jabbar took aim at James, saying that some of James’ past actions have been “beneath him.” The comments were made to reporters prior to the Lakers versus Denver Nuggets game that day, as he presented Carmelo Anthony with the NBA’s Social Justice Champion trophy for the 2020-2021 season.
“Some of the things he’s done and said are really beneath him, as far as I can see,” Abdul-Jabbar said according to ESPN. “Some of the great things that he’s done, he’s standing on both sides of the fence almost, you know? It makes it hard for me to accept that when he’s committed himself to a different take on everything. It’s hard to figure out where he’s standing. You’ve got to check him out every time.”
Abdul-Jabbar gave credit to James for the work he’s done off of the court, such as providing a path for kids to attend college, but he reiterated that he has not been pleased with some of the things James has done, while also saying that he’d love to speak with James about social issues.
“I wouldn’t mind doing it if he would take the time. I definitely got the time,” Abdul-Jabbar said, according to the L.A. 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,” Abdul-Jabbar continued. “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.”
It’s not the first time that Abdul-Jabbar, a six-time NBA champion, has criticized James. Abdul-Jabbar ripped James in December for posting a meme to social media which appeared to question COVID-19, seemingly comparing it to the cold and the flu. Abdul-Jabbar responded by penning a letter to James, titled “Dear LeBron: Here’s the COVID-19 Help You Requested in Your Spider-Man Meme.”
In the letter, Abdul-Jabbar accused James of giving “support to those not getting vaccinated, which makes the situation for all of us worse by postponing our health and economic recovery.” Kareem referenced James’ 106 million followers on Instagram, saying that the number of people who follow James makes his post “politically impactful.”
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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