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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar apologizes to LeBron: ‘It wasn’t my intention to criticize’

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar apologizes to LeBron: ‘It wasn't my intention to criticize’

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Just days after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said Lebron James has done things that are “beneath him” and that he should “be embarrassed by” other things he’s done, Abdul-Jabbar issued an apology and clarified his earlier comments about the Lakers’ star.

Abdul-Jabbar made his initial comments during the Los Angeles Lakers’ game against the Denver Nuggets on Sunday. The six-time NBA champion was in attendance to present Carmelo Anthony with the NBA’s inaugural Social Justice Champion Award.

Sports Illustrated reports that the six-time MVP spoke on SiriusXM NBA Radio on Monday and said that sometimes he can get things wrong.

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Los Angeles Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar attends the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies basketball game at Staples Center on February 21, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
(Kevork S. Djansezian/Getty Images)

“I’ve been talking to the press since high school, that’s 60 years of making statements,” Abdul-Jabbar said, via ESPN. “And I haven’t always gotten it right. And Sunday was one of those nights.

“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 wholeheartedly 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 also sent an email to the Los Angeles Times on Sunday sharing his thoughts on James as an activist and why he was so critical of James.

KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR CRITICAL OF LEBRON JAMES, EXPLAINS REMARKS

LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots a free throw during the game against the Detroit Pistons on November 28, 2021, at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots a free throw during the game against the Detroit Pistons on November 28, 2021, at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
(Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

“LeBron [James] is still the daunting hero I described two years ago,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “He’s still a major force in improving lives in the Black Community. He’s still one of the greatest basketball players in history. He’s still a man who has earned the overwhelming admiration of millions. And every day he goes out and proves why he deserves that admiration.

“On occasion I have chided LeBron when I thought he was dropping the ball when it came to supporting the community. 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.”

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar arrives at WE Day California at The Forum on Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Inglewood, Calif. 

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar arrives at WE Day California at The Forum on Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Inglewood, Calif. 
(Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

The Lakers (31-48) were officially eliminated from NBA playoff contention Tuesday following a 121-110 loss to the Phoenix Suns. 

James did not play in Sunday’s game due to soreness in his left ankle, and he missed Tuesday’s game against the Suns.

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