Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played a prominent role in the Los Angeles Lakers orbit on Sunday — and I don’t mean on episode five of “Winning Time.”
The Lakers legend was on-hand at Crypto.com Arena to personally award Carmelo Anthony with the brand-new Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Trophy, which honors the NBA’s Social Justice Champion.
“It’s an honor for me to be able to receive that and I’m glad that Kareem can have an award named after him.” @carmeloanthony on receiving the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Award. pic.twitter.com/sEuuk8AWJl
— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) April 4, 2022
Abdul-Jabbar awarded a few minutes to reporters while on the premises, too. He was asked about his prior criticisms of LeBron James (mostly via his Substack) — specifically, for the Big Balls Sam Cassell dance, for not advocating for the COVID-19 vaccine, and for that Spider-Man meme questioning coronavirus symptoms. The Hall of Famer and, nowadays, prolific columnist and social and cultural critic, didn’t mince his words.
“Some of the things he’s done and said are really beneath him, as far as I can see,” Abdul-Jabbar said before the Lakers fell to the Denver Nuggets. “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.”
“(I hold) a higher expectation for him because he understands the issues and spoken to them quite forcefully and eloquently,” Kareem added. “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 said he is “all for” LeBron passing him on the NBA’s all-time scoring list (likely next season), and would also welcome a one-on-one sitdown with the Lakers superstar.
“If he would take the time, I definitely got the time,” Kareem stated. “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.”
LeBron, who didn’t suit up for the Lakers vs. the Nuggets due to a sprained ankle, did not take questions on Sunday. Melo, however, was asked whether he would be open to mediating a peace-making conversation between the two Lakers icons.
“I don’t even think there’…….