NBA icon Kareem Abdul-Jabbar slammed Will Smith for his attack on Chris Rock during the Oscars, writing that the “King Richard” star “advocated violence, diminished women … and perpetuated stereotypes about the Black community.”
In a Substack essay posted Monday, the all-time scoring leader broke down the many ways Smith inflicted harm by slapping Rock for a joke about wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head.
“By hitting Rock, he announced that his wife was incapable of defending herself—against words,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote.
“This patronizing, paternal attitude infantilizes women and reduces them to helpless damsels needing a Big Strong Man to defend their honor least they swoon from the vapors,” he explained.
The six-time NBA champion, who appeared with Smith on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” in 1994, said Smith’s “self-serving” acceptance speech for his best-actor Oscar, in which he spoke of protecting women in his movie “King Richard,” was about “justifying his violence.”
“Apparently, so many people need Smith’s protection that occasionally it gets too much and someone needs to be smacked,” Abdul-Jabbar sniped.
The writer wrote that the Black community also felt Smith’s blow.
“One of the main talking points from those supporting the systemic racism in America is characterizing Blacks as more prone to violence and less able to control their emotions,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “Smith just gave comfort to the enemy by providing them with the perfect optics they were dreaming of.”
The shocking incident unfolded when Rock was presenting the best documentary award. He cracked to Pinkett Smith that he looked forward to seeing her in “G.I. Jane 2.” The real “G.I. Jane” starred Demi Moore, who shaved her head for the 1997 role. But Will Smith took the zinger personally because his wife has been suffering from hair-loss causing alopecia. He walked up to the stage and struck Rock across the face, then yelled at him, “Keep my wife’s name out your fucking mouth!”
Substack noted that Smith had apologized to Rock and called his own actions “unacceptable” since the essay was published.