Kyrie Irving has been the talk of the nation in the wake of his apparent promotion of an anti-semitic film, leading to his suspension from the Brooklyn Nets. NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has chimed in on the situation, encouraging the former Duke attendee to truly be aware of how he is being presented.
The 75-year-old spoke with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Tuesday morning (Nov. 8) about the point guard’s recent controversy. “I think Kyrie has to understand what’s happening. He’s being unwittingly used to promote hatred and anti-semitism. And even though he doesn’t see himself as being anti-semitic, by joining forces and making posts like that you can be used. And I think that’s what’s happening.”
The news anchor brought up how the Lakers legend wasn’t new to this fight, as two years ago he shared an opinion on Desean Jackson’s anti-semitism and urged people to be outraged by all forms of injustice.
When asked about the parallels between Irving, Jackson, and Kanye West, Abdul-Jabbar said, “I think the lack of awareness of the harm that they’re doing both to the Black community and to other communities: the LGBTQ community, the Latinx community, all of these marginalized communities are really in one lump. If we don’t try to protect everyone, we won’t protect anyone.”
This follows Abdul-Jabbar’s October column for Substack where he referred to Irving as a “comical buffoon” due to his re-post of a clip from controversial figure Alex Jones discussing an alleged group of powerful figures attempting to create a “New World Order.”
“Kyrie Irving would be dismissed as a comical buffoon if it weren’t for his influence over young people who look up to athletes,” Abdul-Jabbar expressed. “When I look at some of the athletes who have used their status to actually improve society—Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James, Muhammad Ali, Bill Russel, Billie Jean King, Arthur Ashe, and more—it becomes clear how much Irving has tarnished the reputations of all athletes who strive to be seen as more than dumb jocks.”
Kyrie Irving’s suspension came after the 30-year-old went back and forth with a reporter during a press conference. The Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai tweeted his disappointment in Irving’s stance before suspending the New Jersey native for five games. The father of one is also being required to meet with various advocacy groups.