Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Atlanta Hawks Owner Bruce Levenson Not Racist

NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar insists that Atlanta Hawks controlling owner Bruce Levenson isn’t a racist.

As detailed in a previous story in The Inquisitr, Levenson has announced that he will be selling off his stake in the NBA franchise following the self-reported revelation of a racist email he sent regarding Hawks fans in 2012. Levenson has apologized for those comments, which NBA Commissioner Adam Silver described as “entirely unacceptable [and in] stark contrast to the core principles of the National Basketball Association.”

In an essay in Time magazine, Abdul-Jabbar conceded that some of Bruce Levonson’s assumptions were cringeworthy, but that doesn’t make him a racist despite what the court of public opinion and the “ratings-grabbing, head-shaking and race-shaming” media has already concluded. Instead, the team owner was functioning as a businessman whose “worst crime is misguided white guilt.”

Abdul-Jabbar scored the most points in NBA history over a 20-year NBA career with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers after a distinguished college basketball career at UCLA. The master of the sky hook is a six-time NBA champion, six-time MVP, and two-time scoring champion among many honors he earned in the sport.

In his analysis of the Bruce Levenson situation, Abdul-Jabbar had this to say.

“I read Levenson’s email. Here’s what I concluded: Levenson is a businessman asking reasonable questions about how to put customers in seats… If his arena was filled mostly with whites and he wanted to attract blacks, wouldn’t he be asking how they could de-emphasize white culture and bias toward white contestants and cheerleaders? Don’t you think every corporation in America that is trying to attract a more diverse customer base is discussing how to feature more blacks or Asians or Latinos in their TV ads?… Businesspeople should have the right to wonder how to appeal to diverse groups in order to increase business. They should even be able to make minor insensitive gaffes if there is no obvious animosity or racist intent. This is a business email that is pretty harmless in terms of insulting anyone — and pretty fascinating in terms of seeing how the business of running a team really works…”

The NBA Hall of Fame center also took a contrarian position when it came to the headline-making controversy that engulfed former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who was banned from the league for life. In a Time op-ed, Abdul-Jabbar condemned Sterling for his racist comments but also similarly called out the news media for figuratively putting Sterling’s head on a spike as a result of private comments made to a manipulative alleged girlfriend.

The Atlanta Hawks franchise is said to be worth about $425 million, so regardless of the scandal, Bruce Levenson will be doing very well for himself once the sale is consummated.

[Image Via npr.org and clutchmagonline.com]