Over the past few months, Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James has received criticism over his approach to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic from the franchise’s legend, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Abdul-Jabbar has been a vocal supporter of the COVID-19 vaccine, encouraging the public to take the jab and help end the pandemic sooner. James has taken a more neutral approach and, despite eventually receiving the vaccine himself, even shared a meme that equaled the virus to the common cold and flu on social media.
James’ takes on the pandemic earned him a few harsh comments from Abdul-Jabbar — who has clarified the criticism comes from a place of love. But as the relationship between the two NBA greats seems to have taken a hit, Lakers forward Carmelo Anthony said he could serve as a mediator to help them mend fences.
“I don’t know what the discrepancies there are. I hear it. We all read it, but I don’t know what’s the root,” said Anthony, who recently received the NBA’s inaugural Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award and collected it from the very man it’s named after.
“I don’t even think there’s an issue, to be honest with you. But I’ll be that. I’ll sit in the room with those guys and bring them in. I don’t think no media needs to be involved in that. That’s two grown men. Two powerful Black men getting in a room together and talking and speaking and putting things on the table however anybody feels. I’m around Bron, so I know he don’t talk about it much. I don’t know if he can pay attention to all that. He hears it, but yeah, that’s a conversation two Black men need to have in our community. We need those tough conversations, we need those uncomfortable conversations.”
Anthony added that he feels a private conversation between the two Lakers legends is needed to clear the air.
“If Kareem want to sit down and talk, if LeBron want to sit down and talk; I think that’s a conversation that needs to be had. I don’t think we need Kareem lashing out at Bron. You haven’t seen Bron say anything about Kareem, so I think that’s easier. It’s a lot easier than we are envisioning it. We thinking about it.
“Again, from behind closed doors, let’s have a conversation and talk about what’s the issues and we go from there. We both Black men and I think it will be a powerful conversation.”
Anthony felt ‘honored’ to receive Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award
After Abdul-Jabbar presented Anthony with the award to acknowledge his social initiatives on and off the court, the Lakers veteran discussed what it felt like to receive the honor.
“At the end of the day, having that in the house and understanding everything that comes along with that,” he said.
“The responsibility that comes with that, the accountability that come with that, and to be able to say that I was the first one to receive that award. It’s hard to explain what that feels like. It’s an honor for me to receive that and I’m glad Kareem actually having an award that’s named after him.”
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