Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the legendary NBA player, called out anti-Semitism in Hollywood and in sports after several prominent celebrities, including the rapper Ice Cube, the football player DeSean Jackson and comedian Chelsea Handler, spread anti-Semitic messages.
Abdul-Jabbar wrote a column in the Hollywood Reporter in which he questioned why anti-Semitism has not gotten a response of “more passionate public outrage.”
“It’s so disheartening to see people from groups that have been violently marginalized do the same thing to others without realizing that perpetuating this kind of bad logic is what perpetuates racism,” he wrote. “If we’re going to be outraged by injustice, let’s be outraged by injustice against anyone.”
Born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr. in New York City, Abdul-Jabbar converted to Islam in college and took his Muslim name in 1971.
He has long worked to foster understanding between Blacks and Jews, a childhood friend wrote in ESPN in 2009.
“‘It is important that African-Americans and Jewish Americans understand their common history, especially at the beginning of the early civil rights movement,’” Abdul-Jabbar told his friend. “‘Jews supported what African-Americans were trying to achieve in attempts to attain equality. Jewish lawyers worked for the NAACP and played a key role.’”