Posted On May 1, 2014 By In Sports, Sports Takes

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar On Donald Sterling


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. He has been hailed by other basketball legends as one of – if not the – greatest players in NBA history. He’s a great man with too many accomplishments to list. Let’s just mention briefly that he perfected the skyhook… enough said – he’s awesome.

Currently, he works in the Los Angeles Lakers organization and has previously worked for both the Clippers and SuperSonics. In the aftermath of the Donald Sterling situation, TIME put out Kareem’s reaction and these are his main takeaway points.

I’ll start with his final point just in case you want a quick read.


“Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.”

Kareem makes the point that we must be inspired to promote equality, justice, and peace on a regular basis. It’s something we must always be doing – not just when we feel like it. Sterling has been accused, both legally and morally, of questionable sentiments and actions in the past and the public waited until now to oust him. NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, laid down a lifetime ban on Sterling. He did what was needed to be done and took action. Now, it’s time to examine how we got to this point.


“It’s time to look at ourselves — and our collective moral outrage — in the mirror.”

Kareem begins the article by stating that he, like everyone else, is angry (and rightfully so). But, we as a collective seem to have forgotten the laundry list of sins committed by Sterling and other public figures in recent days. He says that we’ve created a new sport when it comes to highly publicized news like this called, “extreme finger wagging.”

He goes on to mention the mess of the situation that must have been going on between Sterling and his ex-girlfriend. When she leaked the audio, “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.”

It’s an understandable reaction to terrible thoughts and feelings, and Kareem even admits to doing some whooping of his own. But, a huge takeaway from his next point is this –

“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…

So, if we’re all going to be outraged, let’s be outraged that we weren’t more outraged when his racism was first evident. Let’s be outraged that private conversations between people in an intimate relationship are recorded and publicly played. Let’s be outraged that whoever did the betraying will probably get a book deal, a sitcom, trade recipes with Hoda and Kathie Lee, and soon appear on Celebrity Apprentice and Dancing with the Stars.”

We say it after every big news story but let’s actually do it for once – that is, learn from our collective mistakes and do a better job at promoting a healthy and peaceful society day in and day out. We, as a collective, cannot allow hateful and ignorant sentiments to persist uninterrupted. Remember, that there are lessons to be learned from any situation like this.

Click here to read Kareem’s full take on the situation.

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Harry is a writer from Washington DC. He graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with both his B.A. & M.P.A. and is the author of The Poetry of Politics and Panic: One Man's Struggle with Anxiety. He enjoys anything that opens his mind to new experiences and world views. Baba Booey to all.