Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a guest on Fareed Zakaria GPS this Sunday [February 7] and the NBA great opens up to Zakaria about his public objection to Donald Trump‘s anti-Muslim rhetoric.
The 68 year old, who played 20 seasons in the league, converted to Islam during his time at UCLA, officially changing his name from Lew Alcindor the day after winning the NBA championship with the Milwaukee Bucks in May 1971. He has called Trump, among other things, “ISIS’s greatest triumph.”
Below is an excerpt from Sunday’s interview:
ZAKARIA: “So when you heard Donald Trump talk about banning all Muslims, you put your hand up and — and said I’m a Muslim. Why did you do that? You’re usually very private about these things.”
ABDUL-JABBAR: “I thought that what he had to say was outrageous. It certainly contradicts our Constitution, something that the President of the United States is obliged to uphold and defend, and religious discrimination is not part of what America is supposed to be about.
“And here he is, saying that, uh, it’s okay to discriminate and, uh, have Muslims on watch lists and we’re going to shut down some masjids and a lot of things that are illegal and immoral. And, you know, I had to say something.”
ZAKARIA: “When you, uh, came out, as it were, Donald Trump sent you a note…”
ZAKARIA: “– in which he says there are – you don’t understand how to make America great. What was your reaction to that note?”
ABDUL-JABBAR: “My reaction to that note was, encouraging religious discrimination definitely will not make America great. So, you know, what is he talking about me? And some of the things that he’s advocated and, uh, proposed, are — are completely ridiculous and will not work. It’s impossible. He’s talking about carpet bombing and — that — that’s genocide. You know, it’s just indiscriminate bombing of — of a — of a human population.
“You know, we do things differently here in America. And I hope that he doesn’t get the opportunity to change the way that we do things.”
Fareed Zakaria GPS airs on CNN Sunday, February 7 at 10am and 1pm ET.