What Lakers’ LeBron James told Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in discussion about racial injustice
On Tuesday, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer and award-winning author spoke with members of the Lakers organization on a Zoom conference to discuss the death of George Floyd and ensuing wave of protests that have taken place nationwide over the past nine days.
Abdul-Jabbar was unsurprisingly riveting on the call, according to folks who spoke to the Los Angeles Times about the discussion, as he discussed his personal experiences and how the Lakers can make a positive impact in the greater Los Angeles community. Abdul-Jabbar was apparently asked “a lot of great questions” on the call about how he dealt with issues of racial injustice during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Abdul-Jabbar (then Lew Alcindor) was one of the prominent black athletes in attendance in 1967 in Cleveland to support Muhammad Ali’s refusal to be drafted into the military.
LeBron James—who has also often utilized his platform as a star basketball player to express his opinion on social and racial issues, including in recent days—was reportedly among the prominent voices on the call. James shared his admiration about seeing images of the young Abdul-Jabbar alongside Jim Brown, Bill Russell, Ali, and others at that gathering in Cleveland.
“The Lakers did a great job letting their players have a voice,” one source told the Times. “The Lakers understand what’s happening. They have always been about helping their community and that hasn’t stopped even now when the Lakers and others sports teams are needed the most.”
Abdul-Jabbar wrote a striking piece in the Los Angeles Times on the ongoing racial strife in America and the historical context behind the struggle for equal rights, published last Saturday.