UPDATED 4/7, 5:16 p.m. ET: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar apologized for comments he made about LeBron James while on SiriusXM NBA Radio.
“All I have to say is this: I was there to give Carmelo Anthony the NBA 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, per ESPN.
He continued, “”It wasn’t my intention to criticize LeBron in any way. He has done so much for the Black community as well as for the game of basketball. We may not always agree, but I want to wholeheartedly apologize to LeBron and make it clear to him that I have tremendous respect for him. And if he can accept that, I’ll be very happy.”
The NBA legend also took to Twitter to say that he regrets his “off-handed response.”
See original story below.
“Some of the things he’s done and said are really beneath him, as far as I can see,” Abdul-Jabbar said recently, per 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.”
Back in December, James shared the infamous Spider-Man meme which compared COVID-19 to the flu and cold. “Help me out folks,” he wrote in the caption. Abdul-Jabbar fired back at the King on Substack, calling the post a “blow to his worthy legacy” because the “implication is that LeBron doesn’t understand the difference among these three illnesses, even after all the information that’s presented in the press.”
While James declined to directly respond to Abdul-Jabbar, he did address the post. “And if you saw the post and you read the tag, you’re literally, honestly asking, ‘Help me out?’ Help me kind of figure it all out. We’re all trying to figure this pandemic out,” he said.
Abdul-Jabbar admitted he has greater expectations for LeBron considering how he has responded to previous issues, adding, “I think he has so much going for him in terms of respect and accomplishment and he shouldn’t stoop to those moments.”
Abdul-Jabbar was also bothered by James doing the “big balls” dance, which was originated by Sam Cassell, following a late-game overtime shot against the Indiana Pacers. “Why do you need to do a stupid, childish dance and disrespect the other team on the court? It doesn’t make sense,” he said. “GOATs don’t dance.”
Abdul-Jabbar made sure to establish that he has an incredible amount of respect for LeBron, given what he has done in the past and would be more than willing to speak with him whenever he wants.
“If he would take the time, I definitely got the time,” he 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.”
Kareem followed up his initial comments with a statement, which you can read in full below.