Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Rumors
Today Guardian US announces Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as a new contributor and columnist. Legendary NBA champion, best-selling author, and recipient of 2016 Medal of Freedom Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will write on sports and social issues in America. His first column on Guardian US launches today: The NBA has surpassed the NFL as the League of America’s future.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Today I am proud to announce my new role as columnist for The Guardian Newspaper. By partnering with one of the world’s largest newspapers it helps me further reach a global audience. Has the NBA surpassed the NFL as the League of America’s future? bit.ly/2jSw21z
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: But America has changed and with that change we are seeing a shifting away from hoisting football on our collective shoulders. Although football remains our most popular professional sport, that popularity has been declining over the past five years, from 67% saying they were fans in 2012, to 57% in 2017. Professional baseball has also fallen 2% during that time. However, professional basketball has risen 3%. Before anyone starts blaming Colin Kaepernick, let’s remember that he first took a knee in 2016 and that the fan base erosion had already been strong several years before that.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: The NBA has been more tolerant of its players’ freedom of speech. Players and coaches from many teams have silently protested and spoken out to the press. LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Jarrett Jack, Alan Anderson, Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett and others wore “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts during warm-ups in 2014 to protest the death of unarmed Eric Garner by police. Steph Curry and Kevin Durant continue to speak out. Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy has said that protesting athletes are “models of American patriotism”. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich echoed that sentiment when he said that his players have “the organization’s full support to speak their minds”. Has speaking out affected ratings? This year the NBA, despite its protests, has increased its TV ratings by 32%, while the NFL’s viewership dropped from 16.5m viewers last year to 15m this year.
The 70-year-old Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and 20-year-old Jamal Murray are separated by generations but share the same competitive muse: Bruce Lee, “The Little Dragon.” Abdul-Jabbar recently spoke with ESPN about his bond with Lee. “I had studied a little bit of martial arts in New York and I wanted to continue to study them when I started classes at UCLA,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “My junior year, I started looking for instruction and [Black Belt Magazine editor Mitoshi Uyehara] directed me to Bruce. They said Bruce was doing his own style and I might like that.”
Then there’s Murray, a native of Canada who was reared on the tenets of Lee’s teachings by his father, Roger. Roger was a lifelong fan of Lee’s having grown up in the ’70s watching the kung fu legend’s movies, including the iconic films “Enter the Dragon” and “Game of Death.” “Bruce Lee took his craft very seriously, just as my dad took his stuff very seriously. I just loved Lee’s attitude,” Jamal said.
“Bruce was an innovator and caused martial arts to move forward. … The skyhook is the embodiment of an efficient shot that requires minimal movement but sudden speed,” Abdul-Jabbar said. Likewise, many NBA evaluators say Murray has a deceptive quickness that lulls opponents into lax defensive positions, as well as a cerebral maturity that allows him to make quick, sound decisions regarding when he can beat his man, drive to the hoop and dish to an open teammate or step back and drain a 3. “[Lee’s] attitude and his mental preparation and his mental toughness are what I took from him into basketball,” Murray said.