Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said today that Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling's derogatory remarks about blacks are more evidence that racism is still part of American culture, but "things have to change."
"This is a problem. I did a little bit of research, more whites believe in ghosts than believe in racism… That's why we have shows like 'Ghostbusters' and don't have shows like 'Racistbusters,'" Abdul-Jabbar said today in an interview with George Stephanopoulos. "It's something that's still part of our culture and people hold on to some of these ideas and practices just out of habit and saying that, 'Well, that's the way it always was.' But things have to change."
Abdul-Jabbar, who briefly coached for the Clippers in 2000, said he did not experience any type of racism from Sterling first-hand, but said the recorded remarks by Sterling "certainly should not have been a surprise to anybody that was paying any attention to Mr. Sterling over any period of time," referring to charges of racial discrimination filed against Sterling in recent years.
The former Laker, who was inducted into the Hall of Famer and is considered among the greatest players of all time, said that while Sterling may fight against his lifetime ban from the NBA, he believes the league has solid ground for his removal.
"If past performance is any indication, he's going to fight it and do whatever he - take whatever legal recourse he has to avoid the sanctions," Abdul-Jabbar said. "But the way things are going now I think that they have a very good chance of keeping him away from the game."
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