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#pounditTuesday, August 16, 2022

Articles tagged: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

‘Airplane!’ filmmakers speak out against HBO’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar portrayal

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar speaking

Feb 16, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar speaks as Clyde Drexler looks during the 2014 NBA All-Game Legends Brunch at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The portrayal of Jerry West on HBO’s “Winning Time” is apparently not the only one creating problems.

Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker, the filmmakers responsible for the 1980 hit movie “Airplane!” spoke out against the depiction of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in “Winning Time,” the popular television series. The trio was specifically upset about a scene during a recent episode that showed Abdul-Jabbar (who is being played by actor Solomon Hughes) telling a child actor who asked for his autograph on the set of “Airplane!” to “F— off, kid.”

“We had never seen anything like that on the ‘Airplane!’ set,” Abrahams, Zucker, and Zucker said in a letter to the Los Angeles Times. “In fact, during the “Airplane!” shoot, and in the years since, we’ve found Kareem to be both professional and kind.”

The trio also said they contacted Ross Harris, the actor who played the child that Abdul-Jabbar’s character interacts with in the actual “Airplane!” movie. Harris told them that the incident depicted in “Winning Time” “absolutely did not occur” and that “the entire experience with Kareem was positive.”

You can read the Abrahams-Zucker-Zucker letter in full here.

Abdul-Jabbar’s role as pilot Roger Murdock in “Airplane!” is one of the most iconic athlete cameos in film of all-time. The Basketball Hall of Famer also shared a legendary story a couple years ago about how he landed the role.

As for “Winning Time,” it has been a hit with fans but not so much with the subjects being portrayed in it. Abdul-Jabbar himself was unhappy with the series before it even came out, and West has taken even more drastic steps in response to his depiction.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar clarifies critical remarks about LeBron James

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar speaking

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar created a stir Sunday when he was highly critical of LeBron James in a series of media comments. The Los Angeles Lakers legend quickly moved to clarify what he meant by what he said.

Abdul-Jabbar said in a statement that he deeply admires James, but sometimes criticizes him “in the spirit of a loving older brother offering guidance.” Abdul-Jabbar added that his comments Sunday were not “a slam or a barb or even a finger wag, it was me recapping some of what I’ve said in the past.”

Abdul-Jabbar has offered public criticism of James multiple times this season. Sunday’s was the most notable, as he said James has made comments and statements that were “beneath him.”

James has been dismissive of Abdul-Jabbar’s criticism in the past. He has yet to respond to the Laker legend’s most recent comments.

Photo: Feb 16, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar speaks as Clyde Drexler looks during the 2014 NBA All-Game Legends Brunch at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has harsh criticism for LeBron James

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar speaking

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar once again took aim at LeBron James over what Abdul-Jabbar sees as contradictory stances on social issues.

Abdul-Jabbar said Sunday he believes James has to hold himself to higher standards in how he acts due to his stardom, and that James has engaged in things that should be “beneath him.”

“Some of the things he’s done and said are really beneath him, as far as I can see,” Abdul-Jabbar said, via Dave McMenamin of 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 said he has not spoken personally with James about his criticisms, but would welcome the chance to do so.

“If he would take the time, I definitely got the time,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “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.”

This is not the first time James has been the target of criticism by Abdul-Jabbar. Earlier in the season, Abdul-Jabbar voiced his disapproval of one of James’ social media posts. At the time, James was dismissive of that criticism, so the offer to discuss things might not be on his agenda. Kareem has also been critical of James for a celebration the Lakers forward did this season.

UPDATE: Kareem later put out a statement regarding his criticism of James.

“Today a reporter asked me a question about Lebron James and I regret my off-handed response which has been blown out of proportion. For years I’ve expressed my deep admiration and respect for LeBron as a community leader and athlete. That hasn’t changed and never will.”

Photo: Feb 16, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar speaks as Clyde Drexler looks during the 2014 NBA All-Game Legends Brunch at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Funny video of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at All-Star Weekend goes viral

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar smiles

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar may have unintentionally had his funniest moment since flying that plane as Roger Murdock.

A hilarious video went viral this week of Abdul-Jabbar at All-Star Weekend in Cleveland. As Houston Rockets rookie Jalen Green competed in the Dunk Contest on Saturday, Abdul-Jabbar was seen leaving the arena. Take a look.

The Dunk Contest lasted until well past 10 PM local time, so the 74-year-old Abdul-Jabbar was likely heading out regardless. But it was still pretty funny to see the image of him taking off while Green kept missing dunk attempts in the background. The 20-year-old Green also promoted Coinbase and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) during the competition, subjects that Abdul-Jabbar probably could not care less about.

It was still a worthwhile weekend for Abdul-Jabbar, who was honored on Sunday as one of the league’s 75 greatest players ever. But this is just the latest example that he does not care much for the current NBA generation.

Photo: Jul 18, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Former NBA player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar arrives for the 2018 ESPYS at Microsoft Theatre. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James reacts to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s criticism

LeBron James yells during a game

LeBron James is offering his reaction to the shots that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar recently took at him.

The Los Angeles Lakers star James sparked debate last week by posting a meme comparing COVID-19 to the flu and the common cold. Abdul-Jabbar ripped James for doing so, explaining why he thought it was a harmful post.

After the Lakers defeated the Houston Rockets on Wednesday, James was asked if he had any response to Abdul-Jabbar.

“No I don’t have a response to Kareem at all,” he said, per Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen & Roll. “And if you saw the post and you read the tag, you know I’m literally, honestly asking, ‘help me out.’ Help me kind of figure it all out, like we’re all trying to figure this pandemic out. We’re all trying to figure out COVID and the new strain. And the flu, I think people forgot about the flu.

“People like literally forgot about the flu, like that’s still going around,” James went on. “It’s flu season, so people have forgot about the flu. People have forgot about common colds. That happens, especially with a lot of our kids that’s in school. My daughter is in first grade, so a lot of these kids are gettting common colds and getting the flu. But no, I don’t have any response to Kareem. No. At all.”

Like most NBA teams this season, the Lakers have faced a number of recent absences due to health and safety protocols. James was also angered with the situation when he himself landed in protocols earlier this month.

James is maintaining that he was simply trying to gather more information when he sent the post to his 106 million followers on Instagram, especially with much still unknown about the seemingly milder Omicron variant. But that is unlikely to be a satisfactory explanation for Abdul-Jabbar, who also recently criticized James for a different reason.

Nov 28, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) reacts against the Detroit Pistons in the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar rips LeBron James over COVID meme

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar smiles

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has taken aim at LeBron James once again.

The former Los Angeles Lakers star was critical of the current Lakers star in a post on his Substack account on Sunday.

Kareem took issue with the meme James posted on Instagram on Thursday. The meme makes the point that COVID, the flu and a cold are all the same (see it here).

Abdul-Jabbar argued that the post was a “blow to [James’] worthy legacy.”

Abdul-Jabbar also argued that James’ post encourages vaccine hesitancy.

“By posting the uninformed meme, LeBron has encouraged vaccine hesitancy which puts lives and livelihoods at risk,” Jabbar wrote.

You can read his whole post here.

Though Kareem makes a strong case, he is off base on many accounts. I would dispute his argument that James is causing or contributing to vaccine hesitancy. The vaccine has been available in some capacity in America for a year and has been readily available to the American public for over half a year. Anyone who has wanted the vaccine has not only had ample opportunity to get it, but they have had access to a booster too by now. Those who have not been vaccinated have already made a conscious decision not to, and a meme posted by LeBron is unlikely to change that.

Also, James’ meme was likely talking about the Omicron variant. His post would have been more accurate had it said “Omicron” instead of “COVID.” The Omicron variant of COVID-19 has presented itself as a cold for many people. Many of the athletes who have tested positive for Omicron also have had no symptoms or mild symptoms.

To behave as if the current version of COVID is the same as the original strains in 2020 or the Delta variant makes little sense. Canceling games and shutting down seasons over asymptomatic cases, and among people who wouldn’t even know they were positive if they hadn’t been tested, makes little sense.

We’re nearly in 2022 and the circumstances have completely changed from 20 months ago. More therapies are available, people have had opportunities to receive a shot that lessens symptoms if they are infected, and the current strain is proving to be less potent than previous strains. It’s time to adjust accordingly, and James’ post seems to reflect that attitude.

What’s notable is that this is the second time this month Kareem has been critical of LeBron.

Photo: Jul 18, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Former NBA player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar arrives for the 2018 ESPYS at Microsoft Theatre. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar unhappy with new series on Showtime Lakers

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

HBO’s upcoming series on the Showtime Lakers is generating a lot of excitement. But one of the subjects depicted is not too thrilled about it.

Retired L.A. Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar expressed displeasure this week with the new series “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty,” a fictionalized retelling of the Showtime Lakers era. The series, produced by Adam McKay, will debut on HBO Max next March.

“While I respect other artists’ rights to choose their subjects, I think the story of the Showtime Lakers is best told by those who actually lived through it,” Abdul-Jabbar told Matthew Belloni of Puck. “Because we know exactly what happened.”

HBO just released the first trailer for the series this week. Actor Solomon Hughes plays Abdul-Jabbar. The series also has a number of notable stars, including Jason Clarke as Jerry West, Adrien Brody as Pat Riley, and John C. Reilly as the late Dr. Jerry Buss.

It sounds like Abdul-Jabbar would prefer the story be told in documentary format, similar to the depiction of the Chicago Bulls’ dynasty in ESPN’s “The Last Dance.” But the Showtime Lakers already got a “30 for 30” series in 2017, albeit focusing on their famous rivalry with the Boston Celtics.

That does not seem to be good enough for the Hall of Famer Abdul-Jabbar, who has not been happy about what is going on in the City of Angels lately.

H/T theScore

Photo: Jul 18, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Former NBA player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar arrives for the 2018 ESPYS at Microsoft Theatre. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar rips LeBron James for ‘childish’ behavior

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

One elder NBA statesman is not pleased with LeBron James’ antics.

In a video this week for Substack, retired basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ripped James for the obscene “Big Balls” dance that James did against the Indiana Pacers last month (video here).

“For me, winning is enough,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “Why do you need to do a stupid, childish dance and disrespect the other team on the court? It doesn’t make sense. GOATs don’t dance.”

Abdul-Jabbar is one of the most well-respected, dignified athletes of all-time and is certainly qualified to speak on the subject of GOAT behavior. As a six-time champion who won the most MVPs in league history and is also the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, Abdul-Jabbar let his game speak for itself.

While Abdul-Jabbar is more than happy to show love to James for his play, it is all the extracurricular horseplay that Abdul-Jabbar clearly believes is unbecoming of a player of James’ magnitude.

Photo: Jul 18, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Former NBA player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar arrives for the 2018 ESPYS at Microsoft Theatre. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Disturbing story about Wilt Chamberlain goes viral

Wilt Chamberlain dribbles the ball

A disturbing story about Wilt Chamberlain went viral on Twitter this week.

A sports fan watched the “Kareem: Minority of One” documentary on HBO this week and shared a clip from the documentary. The clip shows Kareem Abdul-Jabbar telling a story about Chamberlain that bothered him.

Kareem talked about how Wilt took him under his wing a little. But Abdul-Jabbar admitted a few things Chamberlain did bothered him. One such example was the time Wilt spit on someone in an elevator.

“Some of the things that Wilt did from time-to-time actually bothered me,” Kareem says in the documentary. “I got on an elevator with Wilt, and as the elevator was going down, some guy gets on and says, ‘oh wow, how’s the weather up there?’ He said that to Wilt. Wilt spat on the dude and said, ‘it’s raining.’”

That’s nasty, not to mention disrespectful.

Wilt was 7-foot-1 and 250 pounds. Kareem was listed at 7-foot-2. They were a couple of extremely tall dudes.

Wilt, who died in 1999 at the age of 63, won two NBA championships and four NBA MVP awards. He is regarded by many as the most dominant basketball player of all time. The stories about him are pretty legendary. Or, in this case, the stories can be notorious.

Photo: FILE PHOTO; Los Angeles Lakers center Wilt Chamberlain (13). Mandatory Credit: Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Network.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar rooting for LeBron James to break his all-time scoring record

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

LeBron James is closing in on one of the most iconic records in professional sports, and the current holder is 100 percent in his corner.

Retired basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar spoke this week with veteran NBA writer Marc Stein. In the interview, Abdul-Jabbar said that he is rooting for James to break his all-time record for points scored.

“I’m excited to see it happen,” said Abdul-Jabbar. “I don’t see records as personal accomplishments, but more as human achievements. If one person can do something that’s never been done, that means we all have a shot at doing it. It’s a source of hope and inspiration.

“Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile back in 1954,” Abdul-Jabbar added. “Since then, not only have 1,400 runners beaten that time, but the new record is 17 seconds less. We all win when a record is broken and if LeBron breaks mine, I will be right there to cheer him on.”

Abdul-Jabbar scored 38,387 points during his 20-year NBA career. He has held the all-time scoring record since 1984 when he surpassed the previous record holder, Wilt Chamberlain. James is currently at 35,367 points for his career, 3,020 behind Abdul-Jabbar. An 18-year veteran, James could break Abdul-Jabbar’s record by appearing in 70 games over the next two seasons and averaging 22 points per game, both very attainable marks for him.

While James does not always get love from players of that era, Abdul-Jabbar seems to be rooting for him every step of the way as James nears the record.