Is racism still a major issue in the country?

Basketball hall of famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar weighs in on the Donald Sterling controversy


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," April 30, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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O'REILLY: "Personal Story Segment" tonight, the fallout from the racial remarks made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling continues. On Monday I said this.


O'REILLY: There is no question that Sterling has a problem. But here is the headline: it's primarily his problem, not the country's problem. He is shameful, but does not represent anyone other than himself.


O'REILLY: And joining us now from Los Angeles to react, basketball hall of famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. So, the story pretty much is going to die this week with this pinhead, but do you feel that there is more to it than just Sterling?

KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR, FORMER NBA PLAYER: Well, I think what this issue is all about, especially for professional basketball is that we don't want Mr. Sterling's face to be the face of the NBA. The NBA feels that intolerance has no place in what it is trying to do and for that reason they came down hard on Mr. Sterling.

O'REILLY: All right. Is that all though? Does this have any societal implications for you?

ABDUL-JABBAR: Well, I think here in Los Angeles it has societal implications because Mr. Sterling, for example, discriminated against black and Hispanics trying to rent some of his properties, people who were qualified. The only thing for him that didn't qualify them were the color of their skin or their nationality.

O'REILLY: Now you worked for him.

ABDUL-JABBAR: That really stinks.

O'REILLY: Absolutely. And he had to pay a big fine because of it. You worked for him.


O'REILLY: Did you know he was a man of this caliber when you were working for him?

ABDUL-JABBAR: No, I didn't. He was very congenial. He invited me to his daughter's wedding. Ok? I went -- his wife is a very nice lady, you know, it's hard to understand who feels this way because no one wears a sign on their forehead that says "racist".

O'REILLY: All right. So you didn't have any idea when you were working for him that he was --


O'REILLY: -- he had these kinds of thoughts. You know, William Roden the sportswriter for the "New York Times". You are a New York guy. Do you know Roden?

ABDUL-JABBAR: I know Bill very well, yes.

O'REILLY: Ok. Good. He says today that black players in the NBA should stop calling each other the "n" word, that that in itself is demeaning and has no place in the league. What do you say?

ABDUL-JABBAR: I would have to agree with that. People who don't understand what we fought for in this country during the Civil Rights Movement think that they can clean that word up. I don't think it can ever be cleaned up. And I think that black Americans should avoid using it in the context, especially what you are referring to.

O'REILLY: Ok. You know, you and I are almost the same age and I'm sure you look a lot younger than I do. And I remember you at Power Memorial High School and I was at Chaminade High school and you were a fantastic basketball player.

ABDUL-JABBAR: You went to Chaminade (ph) ok.


ABDUL-JABBAR: Oh yes ok.

O'REILLY: And I want to ask you a personal question. Do you feel America has treated you fairly, you and your family?

ABDUL-JABBAR: For the most part. You know, there's pluses and minuses, being a black American sometimes means that you have to deal with some things that you shouldn't. But I don't think there is any ethnic group in this country that hasn't had a similar experience. It's just that on the whole issue of the slave trade that made it different for people from Africa.

O'REILLY: Do you respect your country? Do you love your country?

ABDUL-JABBAR: Yes. I feel patriotic. This is the greatest country in the world because we have the ability here to make it better. And we are constantly trying to do that. And I think that sets us apart and I think we have to continually remember that when we try to get things done.

O'REILLY: Can you forgive Sterling?

ABDUL-JABBAR: Yes. But he hasn't asked for any forgiveness. He seems pretty secure in his attitude and again, that's part of the problem.

O'REILLY: Mr. Jabbar, we appreciate you coming on tonight thank you very much.

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