Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Led 'Illuminating' Forum with Lakers on Racial Injustice

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 30, 2020

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar arrives at the NBA Awards on Monday, June 24, 2019, at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
Richard Shotwell/Associated Press

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar recently led the Los Angeles Lakers in a forum to discuss injustice and inequality, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

General manager Rob Pelinka called the discussion "illuminating."

Abdul-Jabbar has long been an activist for racial and social justice dating back to his college days and playing career, which included 14 seasons and five NBA titles with the Lakers. He also spent six years with the Milwaukee Bucks, adding one more championship.

He has been especially vocal in recent weeks following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, supporting protests calling for an end to systemic racism and police brutality:

"African Americans have been living in a burning building for many years, choking on the smoke as the flames burn closer and closer," he wrote in an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times. "Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible—even if you're choking on it—until you let the sun in. Then you see it's everywhere."

Several current Lakers players have also used their platform to try to instigate change on these issues.

LeBron James has not only brought attention to issues on social media, he also created the More Than a Vote organization to help protect voting rights. Avery Bradley helped lead a coalition of players pushing for more social justice reform before opting out of playing in the restarted season in Orlando.

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"As promised also, I will use this time away to focus on the formation of projects to help strengthen my communities," Bradley said, via Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The discussion with Abdul-Jabbar could help Lakers players use their platforms and increase their impact off of the court.

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