Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar contrasted the political campaigns of Republican billionaire Donald Trump and Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, saying that "Trump authored his own doom, and Sanders opened immense new possibilities as a compassionate person and serious candidate for president."
In an opinion piece Wednesday for The Washington Post
, Abdul-Jabbar contended that since Trump's candidacy began on June 16, he has alienated women with his attacks on Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly.
He has also tried to "bully the press to silence criticism of him" and has "followed up this salvo on the First Amendment with a strike at the 14th Amendment, asserting that he’d like to deny those born in the country their citizenship.
"The biggest enemy to the principles of the Constitution right now is Trump," he said.
By contrast, Abdul-Jabbar discussed Sanders' response at an event last month when two African-American women "pushed in front of him to use the microphone to demand four and a half minutes of silence to honor the death of Michael Brown."
Brown was shot to death last year by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.
"Sanders left the stage and mingled with the crowd," the Hall of Famer said. "Truly he showed grace under pressure by acknowledging their frustration and anger.
"Instead of bullying their voices into silence or ridiculing them … Sanders left. After all, it was not his event; he was a guest."
Sanders the next day posted "a sweeping policy of reform to fight racial inequality," which coincided with Brown's death.
"The two approaches reveal the difference between a mature, thoughtful and intelligent man, and a man whose money has made him arrogant to criticism and impervious to feeling the need to have any actual policies," Abdul-Jabbar said.
"Trump is a last-call candidate who looks good in the boozy dark of political inebriation."
Later Wednesday, Trump sent Abdul-Jabbar a hand-written note
slamming him for his column, reading in part:
"Now I know why the press always treated you so badly — they couldn’t stand you. The fact is that you don’t have a clue about life and what has to be done to make America great again!"
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