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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Apologizes To LeBron: ‘It Wasn’t My Intention To Criticize’

Just days after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said Lebron James has done things that are “beneath him” and that he should “be embarrassed by” other things he’s done, Abdul-Jabbar issued an apology and clarified his earlier comments about the Lakers’ star.

Abdul-Jabbar made his initial comments during the Los Angeles Lakers’ game against the Denver Nuggets on Sunday. The six-time NBA champion was in attendance to present Carmelo Anthony with the NBA’s inaugural Social Justice Champion Award.

Kareem and LeBron
Two days after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar pointed out Lebron James has done things that are “beneath him” and that he should be “embarrassed” about, Abdul-Jabbar issued an apology and further clarified his comments about the Lakers’ star. Photos courtesy of Getty.

Sports Illustrated reports that the six-time MVP spoke on SiriusXM NBA Radio on Monday and said sometimes he can get things wrong.

“I’ve been talking to the press since high school, that’s 60 years of making statements,” Abdul-Jabbar said, via ESPN. “And I haven’t always gotten it right. And Sunday was one of those nights.

“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.”

Abdul-Jabbar also sent an email to the Los Angeles Times on Sunday sharing his thoughts on James as an activist and why he was so critical of James. 

“LeBron [James] is still the daunting hero I described two years ago,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “He’s still a major force in improving lives in the Black Community. He’s still one of the greatest basketball players in history. He’s still a man who has earned the overwhelming admiration of millions. And every day he goes out and proves why he deserves that admiration.

“On occasion I have chided LeBron when I thought he was dropping the ball when it came to supporting the community. But I did so in the spirit of a loving older brother offering guidance, whether wanted or not. So, when I said that he has done some things he should be embarrassed about, that wasn’t a slam or a barb or even a finger wag, it was me recapping some of what I’d said in the past.”

As the Lakers (31–47) sit 11th in the Western Conference and two games behind the San Antonio Spurs for the final spot for the league’s play-in tournament, the team could be in jeopardy of missing the playoffs. If the Lakers lose on Tuesday, it would mark just the fourth time in James’ career that he hasn’t made the cut.

James did not play in Sunday’s game due to soreness in his left ankle and will miss Tuesday’s game against the Phoenix Suns.


Follow Meg Turner on Twitter @Megnturner_ and Instagram @Megnturner


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Written by Megan Turner

Megan graduated from the University of Central Florida and writes and tweets about anything related to sports. She replies to comments she shouldn't reply to online and thinks the CFP Rankings are absolutely rigged. Follow her on Twitter at @Megnturner_ and Instagram at @Megnturner.

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