Kareem Abdul-Jabbar apologizes to LeBron James for critical comments

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, shown in 2019, offered a public apology on Tuesday to LeBron James following the Hall of Famer’s critical comments of the Lakers star on Sunday.
(Richard Shotwell / Invision/Associated Press)

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, issued an apology to LeBron James for comments the Hall of Famer made about him following a trophy unveiling for the league’s Social Justice Champion Award.

“All I have to say is this: I was there to give Carmelo Anthony the Social Justice Champion Award. I’ve been talking to the press since high school. That’s 60 years of making statements. And I haven’t always gotten it right. And Sunday was one of those nights,” he said on Sirius XM NBA radio Tuesday.

“It wasn’t my intention to criticize LeBron in any way. He’s done so much for the Black community as well as for the game of basketball. We may not always agree, but I want to whole-heartedly apologize to LeBron and make it clear to him that I have tremendous respect for him. If he can accept that, I’ll be very happy.”


Lakers star LeBron James will miss Tuesday night’s game against the Suns in Phoenix. He’s in jeopardy of losing the lead for the NBA scoring title.

April 5, 2022

Following a trophy unveiling bearing Abdul-Jabbar’s name and a likeness of his hands on a basketball, Abdul-Jabbar elaborated on his written criticisms of James, mostly for issues pertaining to COVID-19 and vaccination.

Following his comments, Abdul-Jabbar tried to further explain his stance in a letter to The Times, referencing an article he wrote for Sports Illustrated praising James as an advocate for social betterment.

“In the two years since I wrote that, my respect and admiration has only grown for LeBron as I watched him champion worthwhile causes while maintaining his status as an elite athlete,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote in that letter. “As he closes in on my all-time scoring record, I have been a cheerleader urging him on, happy to pass the mantle to someone so worthy as an athlete and a person.”