‘If only Uncle Jordan’s warm brother advice weren’t so lazy and superficial’ – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar stylishly dismantles Jordan Peterson – Basketball Network

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jordan Peterson

If there was ever an NBA superstar who didn’t fit the mold of athletes, it’s undoubtedly Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. That’s probably why he always gets overlooked when talking about the greatest players of all time – Kareem never cared about conforming to the standard. A free thinker and a true intellectual, Abdul-Jabbar often ignored the rituals expected of athletes to make them popular and publicized.

Although it may have cost him in his career and in terms of historic basketball status, being an outside-the-box, large-scale thinker has given Kareem the post-basketball career and presence. the most interesting. His latest column on Jordan Peterson explains why it was hard for Kareem to fit into your average locker room – and why we’re lucky he didn’t.

“When malevolent nonsense passes for the wisdom of the world”

Jordan Peterson has been suspended from Twitter after tweeting about Elliot Page, saying: “Do you remember when pride was a sin? And Ellen Page just had her breasts removed by a criminal doctor.Very on brand for Peterson, who has built her brand on the fight for “gender truth.” In his column, Kareem not only explains why Peterson’s position is wrong and harmful, but also lifts the veil of his quasi-intellectualism.

“Much of Peterson’s fame and infamy is the result of YouTube debates he hosts with other YouTubers, mostly people who agree with him. On the occasions he debates with people who disagree with him, his tactic is similar to that of Ben Shapiro: name famous writers and thinkers, constantly change the subject so he never has to fully defend his position, throw out irrelevant facts and studies so he has the smart. You would have a hard time knowing what Peterson’s thesis is in a debate.

Kareem goes on to point out all the logical errors in Peterson’s position, but then has a surprising twist – he supports Peterson’s right to continue using Twitter. Abdul-Jabbar makes an excellent point about the difference between hate speech, one that “promotes violence and biased actions against groups» and hate speech, the one who «spews an irrational anger that is hurtful.The all-time top scorer summed it up nicely.

Kareem speaks from experience

If you’ve ever heard “I don’t agree with what you say, but I’ll defend your right to say it till the death” you’ve probably been misinformed, it’s a quote from French philosopher Voltaire of the 18th century. It is not by Voltaire; it was a paraphrase by a biographer named Evelyn Beatrice Hall of what she thought Voltaire thought.

Kareem’s defense of Peterson’s right to say stupid bullshit, however hurtful and incorrect, shows how passionate Abdul-Jabbar is about freedom of speech, understanding the cost it entails. And in his column, Kareem explains why he may relate to Elliot Page more than you might think.

“Fifty years ago, when I chose to convert to Islam, I heard many of the same complaints that Page faces. People thought I was leading black children away from Christianity, that I was ungrateful to the country, that I insulted my Catholic upbringing. In fact, I chose a religion that took me back to my African roots rather than the religion that the slaver who owned my ancestors followed. I felt more like me. Some people then – and still do – refuse to call me by my legal name, as if they should have the power to determine my identity. It’s just another form of slavery.

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Despite Kareem citing numerous sources directly refuting Peterson’s claims and demonstrating the damage they cause, he still supports his right to speak freely. In addition to hoping that you will take the necessary few minutes and read the entirety of Abdul-Jabbar’s column, I write all of this to highlight two important points about the NBA – one historical and one contemporary.

Understanding Kareem

Going to Miami isn’t the only reason Ray Allen ended up on Garnett, Pierce and Rondo’s sh*tlist. Prior to the final act of “betrayal”, there was always tension between Allen and the band as Ray spent a lot of time golfing with Danny Ainge, the Celtics’ general manager.

There’s a weird dynamic in every NBA team – coaches + players versus the front office, and on a more micro level players versus coaches. As a player, ultimate loyalty is expected to your teammates, then comes the coaching staff and eventually the front office.

Despite the fact that Paul Westhead led the 1980 Lakers to the top, coaching in a very difficult situation, he was fired in 1981. Why? Magic Johnson didn’t like the fact that so much of the game went through Kareem. What contributed to this dynamic was, again, a bizarre fact.

Westhead was known as “The Professor” because, in addition to being La Salle University’s head basketball coach, he was actually a professor in the English department. Westhead often quoted Shakespeare and other authors while coaching. It was music to Kareem’s ears and boring to almost everyone.

You can imagine the joy Abdul-Jabbar felt at finally having someone to discuss literature with and exchange book recommendations. The cost of this soul food was the suspicious eye of his teammates – Westhead wasn’t spinning the system around Kareem because it was the best way to win, he was doing it because Kareem was his book club buddy.

Throughout his career, Kareem has been described as weird, aloof, aloof, condescending, etc. Part of that was because he wouldn’t compromise – Kareem was one of the first NBA players to consistently speak truth to power. Part of it was also because sometimes it was probably true. But the fact is, we all have bad days. The difference is that Kareem was accented and used as the ultimate proof that he was the problem.

Speak truth to power

When making his point about the impact of Peterson (and others like Ben Shapiro), Kareem points to the millions of social media followers they have and their ability to impact the world. people’s minds. With great power comes great responsibility.

This is what most modern NBA players are slow to accept. They have more power than ever (requesting a trade with 4 years remaining is the latest example) and an unparalleled platform and are reaching fans directly, without the horrible media twisting their message. But with this power comes responsibility – to be logically and ethically consistent and accept questions and criticism.

Whether it’s LeBron fighting for human and civil rights in the United States, but still can’t find the time to educate himself on the same subject in China, or Kyrie’s anti-vax stance Irving, NBA players refused to defend their position on a level playing field. .

They use their platform for one-way communication, and guess who was the only NBA legend with enough guts to constantly call them out about it. That’s right, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. As a former debater and debate coach/referee, I can understand that it’s boring to discuss things with people who tell you that you’re using a red herring, going down a slippery slope, or poisoning the well (all versions of logical errors). But Kareem has always shown a lot of good faith, taking people at their best and backing up the theory with numbers and examples.

I hope LeBron, Kyrie and others read his sub-stack and columns and take the time to understand Kareem’s legacy. Instead of viewing Abdul-Jabbar as an old hater who hates because his time is over, they should learn from Kareem’s example. Talk about things that are important to you, but argue your case with reason, facts, and be open to criticism.

The first step in this direction is having the courage and intellectual honesty to admit when you’ve been wrong. Just like when Kareem apologized to LeBron after realizing he wasn’t specific enough in his criticisms.