NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is once again taking aim at one of the stars of today's game.
The Hall of Famer blasted Nets star Kyrie Irving in a recent blog post, lambasting the seven-time All-Star over his anti-vaccine stance as well as his recent signal-boosting of controversial conspiracy theorist and Sandy Hook denier Alex Jones.
In the scathing article, Abdul-Jabbar crushed Jones as "one of the most despicable human beings alive" and claimed Irving's antics have "tarnished the reputations" of his fellow athletes who claim to be taking up the mantle of social activism.
Irving is back and more destructive, insensitive, and just plain silly than before. He decided it would be a good idea to post a 2002 video clip from Infowars founder Alex Jones. Yeah, the guy who has been on trial for denying the Sandy Hook shootings and who previously admitted in open court that he’s a performer and his onscreen persona is just a character (that bilks millions of dollars from unaware viewers). ...
Kareem then suggested Irving has failed miserably as a role model, and urged to continue the fight against Irving's "destructive behavior."
Kyrie Irving would be dismissed as a comical buffoon if it weren’t for his influence over young people who look up to athletes. ...
Irving does not seem to have the capacity to change, but we have the capacity to keep fighting against his brand of destructive behavior. One way to do that, beyond shaking our heads and nasty tweets, is to write to his sponsors and tell them to drop Irving—or you will drop them. Nike has likely decided not to renew his contract past this season. But he is still sponsored by Pepsi and 2K Sports. (Don’t feel bad for Irving: his career earnings at the end of the 2022-’23 season will be $230 million. That buys a lot of Yes-people.)
Elsewhere in the post, Abdul-Jabbar cites Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James, Muhammad Ali, Bill Russell, Billie Jean King and Arthur Ashe as athletes who used their influence for good.
Interestingly, it wasn't long ago that Kareem had criticized James for his apparent vaccine hesitancy, before later backtracking.
In any case, the takedown of Irving prompted split reactions on social media. In one high-engagement tweet, a user pointed out that Kareem once slugged an opposing player in the face:
Another said Kareem's analysis was spot-on, but Irving was still one of their "favorite players ever:"
But many others were seemingly squarely in agreement with the Hall of Famer: