Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, once again, has apologized to LeBron James.
Abdul-Jabbar apologized to James on SiriusXM NBA Radio on Monday following comments he made about the Los Angeles Lakers star over the weekend.
Abdul-Jabbar — who was at Crypto.com Arena to celebrate Carmelo Anthony, who won the NBA’s inaugural Social Justice Champion Award — again hit James for some of his social stances.
Though he apologized later that night, Abdul-Jabbar again addressed the issue on Monday.
"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 on the radio, via ESPN.
"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 whole-heartedly 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 criticized LeBron James’ social stances
While at Crypto.com Arena before the Lakers’ 129-118 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, Abdul-Jabbar criticized James.
“Some of the things he’s done and said are really beneath him, as far as I can see,” he said. “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.”
Abdul-Jabbar has frequently called James out for some of his takes. In December, Abdul-Jabbar said that James “encouraged vaccine hesitancy” after he posted the pointing Spiderman meme on Instagram — apparently trying to downplay COVID-19 and compare it to the cold and flu, a comparison that is inaccurate and has repeatedly been debunked. Abdul-Jabbar also called James out after the Lakers star said he was “very skeptical” of coronavirus vaccines.
Though Abdul-Jabbar praised James on Sunday for some things he’s done, he’s not happy with him as a whole.
“I admire the things he’s done that have gotten all our attention,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “Sending [the entire ‘I Promise’] 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.”
Abdul-Jabbar then apologized later that night on social media, and issued a lengthy statement.
Today a reporter asked me a question about Lebron James and I regret my off-handed response which has been blown out of proportion. For years I’ve expressed my deep admiration and respect for LeBron as a community leader and athlete. That hasn’t changed and never will. [email protected]://t.co/QEWed5YovX
— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (@kaj33) April 4, 2022
“On occasion I have chided LeBron when I thought he was dropping the ball when it came to supporting the community,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote, in part. “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 … So, when I think he may be veering from the path that made him win that award, I’ll mention it. I’m a journalist. That’s what I do. But I believe LeBron is strong enough and gracious enough to understand that I have only love for him in my heart.”
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