NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the impact of athlete activists

Activist and NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar joins Yahoo Finance to discuss his own history in the fight for justice and how today’s athletes are following in the tradition of many great athlete activists.

Video Transcript

SIBILE MARCELLUS: And let's talk about the role of sports in fighting racial injustice. You famously boycotted the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico because of racial violence in the US. Actually, in April of that year Martin Luther King was assassinated. Looking at athletes now, the sports community, should they be stepping up, doing more, using their platforms to push for change?

KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR: Yeah, I think they should, and that's what they're doing. You see the guys in the NFL, guys in the NBA, now Major League Baseball guys are all using their voice and their platform, and I'm so proud.

We have the example in our own city here of LeBron James opens his wallet, you know, and puts his money where his mouth is when he's trying to improve things in the black community. This is awesome, and this is going to make change. This is significant change here, you know, because the whole community gets behind these efforts, and we see success. And I'm really-- I'm really proud of what all of the athletes are doing across all of the sports and across all racial lines. Blacks, whites, Hispanics, they're all involved. It's a wonderful thing to see.

SIBILE MARCELLUS: And do you think we'll actually achieve change now? What's different?

KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR: I think there's a determination now and I think that the fact that so many different groups see that we're all facing the same issues, you know? So all the people that were demonstrating because of what happened to George Floyd, if you looked at the crowds out there demonstrating, they were totally integrated. You know, blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians, everybody-- LGBTQ people, Muslims, Jews, women, they were all out there demonstrating for the same issue. And I think when you have that broad of a response from Americans across the nation, something's going to happen, and I think it's going to be positive.

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