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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar rips Nets star Kyrie Irving as ‘buffoon’


NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a long-time healthcare and social justice advocate, has called out Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving for parroting conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

‘Kyrie Irving would be dismissed as a comical buffoon if it weren’t for his influence over young people,’ Abdul-Jabbar, 75, wrote on his Substack.

Irving made headlines last season for his refusal to adhere to local workplace vaccine mandates, instead opting to miss long stretches of the 2021-22 campaign.

The unvaccinated Irving made waves last month by posting a 20-year-old clip of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones describing a ‘new world order’ that would unleash viruses to gain control of the public.

“‘And yes, today in 2002, there is a tyrannical organization calling itself the New World Order…by releasing diseases and viruses and plagues upon us, we then basically get shoved into their system,” in the video “Never Forget–Alex Jones Tried to Warn Us.”’

“Alex Jones is one of the most despicable human beings alive and to associate with him means you share his stench,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote about the political media figure at the center of several controversies.

Irving’s tweet came as Jones faced several lawsuits over his false claims that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax. A Texas jury previously awarded $50 million to survivors’ families over Jones’ lies.

At last week’s media day, Irving claimed his desire to be a ‘voice for the voiceless’ cost him a likely nine-figure contract. He said both the Nets and other NBA teams were scared off by his decision to go unvaccinated despite the fact that the league has no mandate in place.

“I gave up four years, $100-something million, deciding to be unvaccinated,” he told reporters. “That was the decision. It was contract [and] get vaccinated or be unvaccinated and there’s a level of uncertainty of your future.”

Abdul-Jabbar, a staunch advocate for COVID vaccines who once boycotted the 1968 US Olympic team over the country’s treatment of African Americans, apparently does not consider Irving to be much of an activist.

‘When I look at some of the athletes who have used their status to actually improve society–Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James, Muhammad Ali, Bill Russell, Billie Jean King, Arthur Ashe, and more–it becomes clear how much Irving has tarnished the reputations of all athletes who strive to be seen as more than dumb jocks,” he wrote.

Abdul-Jabbar specifically challenged Irving to be a better role model by getting vaccinated – something the New Jersey native has thus far refused.

“Last October, I wrote a piece about Kyrie Irving’s refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19 … and why this reckless choice was destructive to the country and especially the Black community where he would be an influential role model,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “The facts proved that accusation to be true. Irving didn’t care. He continued to promote his anti-vax sentiments — regardless of the cost in lives and health to others–proclaiming himself a ‘’martyr.’  Not kidding.”

Abdul-Jabbar concluded by referencing Irving’s previous adherence to the theory that the earth is actually flat and not spherical.

‘We might have just left him alone to stew in his own gelatinous ignorance,’ the NBA’s all-time leading scorer continued. “Rich and famous people get away with saying dumb things all the time because their money isolates them from consequences. They surround themselves with Yes-people whose job is to confirm whatever hare-brained ideas they have. Yes, sir, Mr. Irving, the Earth has never been flatter.”

Our Weekly coverage of local news in Los Angeles County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support minority-owned-and-operated community newspapers across California.