clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: ‘Kyrie Irving has tarnished the reputations of all athletes’

NBA: Brooklyn Nets-Media Day Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

A week ago at Media Day and in subsequent days in camp, no one has asked Kyrie Irving about his echoing — endorsing? — web conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’s belief in a “New World Order” an organization that by “releasing diseases and viruses and plagues upon us, we then basically get shoved into their system.”

The Instagram incident took place in mid-September as Nets gathered in Brooklyn. Then, on Monday, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the Hall of Famer and long-time activist, attempted to correct that oversight with a lengthy discussion of Irving on his substack page. In it, he skewers the Nets superstar for a long history of beliefs in conspiracy theories including of course his position on COVID vaccines. The Jones controversy is just the latest.

Alex Jones is one of the most despicable human beings alive and to associate with him means you share his stench.

Kyrie Irving would be dismissed as a comical buffoon if it weren’t for his influence over young people who look up to athletes. When I look at some of the athletes who have used their status to actually improve society—Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James, Muhammad Ali, Bill Russel, Billie Jean King, Arthur Ashe, and more—it becomes clear how much Irving has tarnished the reputations of all athletes who strive to be seen as more than dumb jocks.

Recounting, Irving was seen as echoing perhaps the leading conspiracy theorist in the U.S. (competition is tough). Alex Jones has peddled (and made millions off selling) some of the worst lies in recent American history. Jones and his are currently on trial in Connecticut, being sued by parents of 20 children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., back in 2012. Jones claimed that no one was killed and dismissed the massacre as a hoax and the work of “crisis actors.” A jury in Texas has already awarded the families $50 million.

The same day the Connecticut trial opened, Irving posted a Jones video from 2002 in which Jones suggested the “New World Order” conspiracy. In it Jones says, “There is a tyrannical organization calling itself the New World Order…by releasing diseases and viruses and plagues upon us, we then basically get shoved into their system.”

For Kareem, it was just the latest failing by Kyrie, whose thought process the now 75-year-old describes as “an example of what happens when the education system fails.”

He also revisits Irving’s vaccine resistance and embrace by anti-vaccine groups and individuals.

Last October, I wrote a piece about Kyrie Irving’s refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19 (“Should We Just ‘Leave Kyrie Alone?”) and why this reckless choice was destructive to the country and especially the Black community where he would be an influential role model. The facts proved that accusation to be true. Irving didn’t care. He continued to promote his anti-vax sentiments—regardless of the cost in lives and health to others—proclaiming himself a “martyr.” Not kidding.

We might have just left him alone to stew in his own gelatinous ignorance. Rich and famous people get away with saying dumb things all the time because their money isolates them from consequences. They surround themselves with Yes-people whose job is to confirm whatever hare-brained ideas they have. Yes, sir, Mr. Irving, the Earth has never been flatter.

The six-time NBA Champ and six-time MVP concluded by offering a solution, stating his belief that “Irving does not seem to have the capacity to change” on his own: “write to his sponsors and tell them to drop Irving—or you will drop them,” specifically mentioning Nike.