Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says fans prefer Magic Johnson because he 'made white people feel comfortable'

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
(Image credit: Kris Connor/Getty Images)

NBA legends and former Los Angeles Lakers teammates Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson have never seemed a lot alike — in playing styles or in personality. In an interview with The New York Times, Abdul-Jabbar, 68, offered up some candid commentary as to why Johnson drew more support from both fans and the press in the '80s.

"I understood why people liked him," Abdul-Jabbar said. "He had that great smile, so white people thought his life was okay. They thought that racism had not affected him. They were wrong, of course. But that's what they saw when they saw him. Magic made white people feel comfortable. With themselves."

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