Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says he believes Will Smith is sincere in his apology for slap of Chris Rock

After saying he wrote a “pretty aggressive article” denouncing Will Smith’s slap on Chris Rock, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said he is now rooting for the actor.  

“We all have shortcomings, celebrity merely amplifies them to the world,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote in a blog post. “Every misstep is an opportunity for growth and it appears that Smith is embracing that opportunity. We should do our part and support him. It’s what we would hope for ourselves from others.”

In Abdul-Jabbar’s blog post titled “How Sincere Is Will Smith’s Video Apology?,” he wrote his understanding of Smith’s apology video to Chris Rock released Friday, four months after the incident at the Oscars.

Will Smith confronts Chris Rock as he presents the award for best documentary feature during Academy Awards in March.

The NBA legend acknowledged that people can be skeptical of Smith’s apology since it came so long after the incident and can be an attempt to salvage future career opportunities. Abdul-Jabbar said he will choose to believe Smith’s apology is sincere. 

“I’m not going to critique his format or his delivery or even his timing,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “I’m going to look at his words and accept that they are sincere and honest. I’m going to believe that after a lengthy period of soul-searching, family rebuilding, and moral prioritizing, he was ready to face a shocked and disapproving world — one that may no longer be rooting for him.”

Abdul-Jabbar’s first response immediately after the slap was that Smith’s actions were deserving of scrutiny since it also “diminished women, perpetuated stereotypes about the Black community and advocated violence.”