NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had some hard words for Michael Jordan during an interview with NPR. Abdul-Jabbar accused Jordan of choosing “commerce over conscience” when Jordan refused to endorse Harvey Gantt in 1990 in a his bid to unseat Republican Jesse Helms, according to Uproxx.
Below is a portion of Abdul-Jabbar’s interview with NPR:
[HOST] MICHAEL MARTIN: I mean, you know, Michael Jordan was asked to endorse, you know, Harvey Gantt get in the very competitive, you know, Senate race, where there was – he was running against somebody who had very retrograde racial attitudes. And he’s famously quoted as having said, you know, Republicans buy sneakers, too.
ABDUL-JABBAR: You can’t be afraid of losing shoe sales if you’re worried about your civil and human rights. You can’t be worried about that.
ABDUL-JABBAR: It’s just the way it is. He took commerce over conscious. That’s unfortunate for him, but he’s got to live with it.
Jordan’s former teammate Ron Harper, however, came to his defense.
“He may not come out and tell the world [what his values are] … but he’s one of the smartest guys I’ve ever been around,” Harper told TMZ. Harper also added, “Some of the stuff he do may not get on TV on camera like some other athletes like to portray themselves as, conscientious Americans, but my boy MJ … he knows what he’s doing in life. Michael Jordan is caring.”
Jordan has reportedly not responded to Abdul-Jabbar’s claims.