NBA Legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Calls Kaepernick's Anthem Protest 'Highly Patriotic' in Op-Ed

Abdul-Jabbar is no stranger to taking political stances.

Abdul-Jabbar's defense of Kaepernick comes amid growing backlash against the quarterback's actions.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said Monday that "maybe [Kaepernick] should find a country that works better for him," and fans posted videos of themselves burning Kaepernick jerseys and other memorabilia on social media.

The retired NBA star, 69, noted in his piece the financial risk that Kaepernick took by speaking up for his beliefs and compared him to Army Reserve 2nd Lt. Sam Kendricks, who, while competing in the Rio Olympics, stopped short while pole vaulting to honor the national anthem.

Abdul-Jabbar wrote that both athletes made a sacrifice.

"What makes an act truly patriotic and not just lip-service is when it involves personal risk or sacrifice. Both Kendricks and Kaepernick chose to express their patriotism publicly because they felt that inspiring others was more important than the personal cost," he said.

He portrayed the matter as a nonpartisan issue, suggesting that a discussion around Kaepernick comes amid "Trump and [Hillary] Clinton supporters each righteously claiming ownership of the 'most patriotic' label."

Abdul-Jabbar is no stranger to commenting on political matters and is widely regarded as liberal. He regularly contributes opinion pieces on issues of race and religion to The Washington Post and The Huffington Post.

Abdul-Jabbar was born in New York City and emerged as a high school basketball star there.

NBA legend Bill Russell and NFL star Jim Brown were among the news conference's other notable attendees.

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