Abdul-Jabbar: 'More Whites Believe in Ghosts Than Racism'

NBA great says racism is alive and well

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted May 4, 2014 10:04 AM CDT | Updated May 4, 2014 10:34 AM CDT

(Newser) – Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar spent more than a day or two in the NBA, and today he dives right into its racism problem, telling ABC that though the problem is widespread, "more whites believe in ghosts than they do in racism." Yet it's "still part of our culture and people hold onto these ideas and practices," he said, as per Politico. And the NBA must gauge the "temperature," and "keep the issue in people’s minds when it’s appropriate."

Abdul-Jabbar hasn't exactly sat on his hands as the brouhaha over Sterling, his old boss during a brief coaching stint at the Clippers, exploded. In Time last week, he penned a pretty scathing op-ed in which he admits that, yes, he's outraged. But not because of the reason you'd think: "What bothers me about this whole Donald Sterling affair isn’t just his racism. I’m bothered that everyone acts as if it’s a huge surprise." Sterling discriminated against minorities for years in his apartment buildings, and "this ridiculous conversation with his girlfriend is what puts you over the edge? That’s the smoking gun?" Sure, "Sterling is the villain of this story," but "racism is the true enemy. (Sterling is) just another jerk with more money than brains." His whole piece is worth a read.

Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar waves to the crowd during an NBA game, Monday, March 3, 2014, in Milwaukee.   (AP Photo/Tom Lynn)
In this April 1978 file photo, LA Lakers' Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, left, reaches for the ball held by Seattle Supersonics' Marvin Webster as Lakers' Lou Hudson (23) defends.   (AP Photo/File)
Sacramento, Calif., Mayor Kevin Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar embrace outside LA City Hall, April 29, 2014, after Johnson's comments on the decision to ban Clippers owner Donald Sterling from basketball.   (AP Photo)
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