Kareem Abdul-Jabbar delivered a quick but impactful speech Thursday night as one of the final speakers at the Democratic National Convention. He didn't exactly share why he has chosen to endorse Hillary Clinton—instead he focused on why has chosen not to endorse Donald Trump.
Abdul-Jabbar earned perhaps the biggest laugh of the entire convention when he introduced himself by saying, "I'm Michael Jordan, and I'm here with Hillary. I said that because I know that Donald Trump couldn't tell the difference."
Abdul-Jabbar then spoke about Muslim U.S. war hero Humayan Khan, who died in combat. A full transcript of his speech is below.
"I'm Michael Jordan, and I'm here with Hillary. I said that because I know that Donald Trump couldn't tell the difference.
Good evening, everyone, I’m Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and I’m here to tell you about Captain Humayan Khan, who was one of 14 American Muslim soldiers who have died in combat serving the United States since 9/11. His family immigrated to the United States from the United Arab Emirates, where Captain Khan was born. The first place they visited upon arriving in America was the Jefferson Memorial. The words engraved there read, “I have sworn upon the alter of God eternal, hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.
Donald Trump's idea to register Muslims and prevent them from entering our country is the very tyranny Jefferson abhorred. In 1777, Jefferson drafted the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which later became a model for the First Amendment.
Today, so-called Religious Freedom Acts, like the one signed by Governor Mike Pence of Indiana, they are the opposite of what Jefferson wanted because they allow discrimination. And at its core, discrimination is a result of fear.
Those who think Americans scare easily, enough to abandon our country's ideals in exchange for a false sense of security, underestimate our resolve. To them, we say only this: not here, not ever. Thank you."
Abdul-Jabbar had an interesting interaction with Trump earlier in the campaign. In September, he wrote a piece for The Washington Post criticizing Trump and praising Bernie Sanders. Trump responded with a hand-written note.
Abdul-Jabbar has continued to be critical of Trump. Yesterday, Kareem said, "I think a lot of the things that he's advocating are playing into the hands of the terrorists."
He announced his endorsement of Clinton in April, penning that "in Clinton we have a proven warrior who has both the commitment and record of accomplishment to lead the fight."
The NBA's all-time leading scorer is an outspoken political commentator and liberal thought leader. He frequently contributes editorials to widely-read outlets such as The Washington Post and TIME.
Abdul-Jabbar received widespread praise for his speech on Twitter, including this note from Hall of Famer James Worthy.