Kareem Abdul-Jabbar condemned Donald Sterling for his racist comments but the NBA superstar said he has “a list” of other players (as it were) with whom he is angry for exploiting the ongoing scandal.
In general, when the media sinks its collective fangs into a lurid story for ratings purposes, it doesn’t let go, as the Malaysian airliner coverage recently demonstrated.
Abdul-Jabbar scored the most points in NBA history over a 20-year NBA career with the Milwaukee Buck and the Los Angeles Lakers after a distinguished college basketball career at UCLA. He is a six-time NBA champion, six-time MVP, and two-time scoring champion among many honors.
In an op-ed, Abdul-Jabbar, who denounced the Los Angeles Clippers owner in no uncertain terms and joined the chorus of those demanding he give up team ownership, noted that he worked for Sterling when he coached the Clippers in 2000 and found the man personally “congenial.” That was before he learned about Sterling’s discriminatory business practices, however.
About Sterling’s girlfriend and how the news media seized upon the incriminating tapes, Abdul-Jabbar didn’t mince words:
…And now the poor guy’s girlfriend (undoubtedly ex-girlfriend now) is on tape cajoling him into revealing his racism. Man, what a winding road she led him down to get all of that out. She was like a sexy nanny playing ‘pin the fried chicken on the Sambo.’ She blindfolded him and spun him around until he was just blathering all sorts of incoherent racist sound bites that had the news media peeing themselves with glee…. They caught big game on a slow news day, so they put his head on a pike, dubbed him Lord of the Flies, and danced around him whooping.”
Abdul-Jabbar’s main issue with the media and the NBA (and/or the “extreme finger wagging” public in general) is that they are late to the party, given that Donald Sterling’s inclinations were well known for years: “… What bothers me about this whole Donald Sterling affair isn’t just his racism. I’m bothered that everyone acts as if it’s a huge surprise… He was discriminating against black and Hispanic families for years, preventing them from getting housing. It was public record. We did nothing. Suddenly he says he doesn’t want his girlfriend posing with Magic Johnson on Instagram and we bring out the torches and rope. Shouldn’t we have all called for his resignation back then?”
The NBA Hall of Famer also assailed the potential privacy violations in the Donald Sterling case: “… Shouldn’t we be equally angered by the fact that his private, intimate conversation was taped and then leaked to the media? Didn’t we just call to task the NSA for intruding into American citizen’s privacy in such an un-American way?… The making and release of this tape is so sleazy that just listening to it makes me feel like an accomplice to the crime. We didn’t steal the cake but we’re all gorging ourselves on it.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has scheduled a 2 pm Eastern press conference to address Donald Sterling’s status with league.
Do you agree or disagree with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s commentary on the Donald Sterling controversy?