NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on Sunday said that the release of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s racist comments points to just how much of an issue racism is today.
“Well, this is a problem. I did a little bit of research, more whites believe in ghosts than believe in racism. That’s why we don’t have — that why we have shows like Ghostbusters and don’t have shows like Racistbuster,” Abdul-Jabbar said on ABC’s “This Week.” “You know, it’s something that’s still part of our culture and people hold on to some of these ideas and practices just out of habit and saying that well that’s the way it always was. But things have to change.”
Abdul-Jabbar said he hopes that the National Basketball Association continues to address racism in the league.
“I think all — the NBA has to do now is just keep the issue in people’s minds when it’s appropriate. It’s not something you can constantly be harping on, but when it’s appropriate and they see people doing things that don’t line up with how we’re supposed to be feeling about things, then people have to speak up,” he said.
When Abdul-Jabbar first encountered Sterling, he didn’t believe he was a racist, though he wrote in Time that few people should have been surprised at Sterling’s remarks on the tape.
“I didn’t see a racist then. Mr. Sterling for the most part was gracious, came invited me to his daughter’s wedding. You know I didn’t feel that there was any racial animus in the man,” he said on ABC about first meeting Sterling. “But when I saw what was just portrayed there, you know, how he discriminated against blacks and other minorities it started to bother me.”