Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Defends Gayle King Amid Kobe Bryant Controversy: 'Kobe Would Not Have Appreciated the Attacks'

NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is defending CBS This Morning anchor Gayle King for her line of questioning about Kobe Bryant's troubled past in a recent interview that left her with death threats. In a column for The Hollywood Reporter, Abdul-Jabbar wrote that attacks from men like Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent, while coming "from a place of deep grief," were misogynistic — and perpetuated "negative stereotypes about how black men perceive and treat women."

"When a man calls a woman a b— because she does something he doesn't like, he is nourishing the already rampant misogyny in society. But when a black man does it, he is perpetuating negative stereotypes about how black men perceive and treat women," Abdul-Jabbar, 72, wrote. "That is harmful to the entire African-American community."

Mentioning the rappers' extremely large social media platforms, he said that they are "influencing a younger generation of men to continue to refer to women who don't do what men want as b—es. Worse, King started receiving death threats."

The former Los Angeles Lakers player admitted that "fame is unforgiving" and acknowledged that Snoop Dogg has since apologized to King for his initial reaction to her interview asking Lisa Leslie about the sexual assault charges Bryant faced in the early 2000s.

"Most people who make mistakes in their lives have a degree of privacy within which they can heal and redeem themselves. With the famous, nothing is forgotten and rarely is anything forgiven," Abdul-Jabbar wrote, referencing the accusation against Bryant. "The case was dismissed and Kobe redeemed himself many times over with his exemplary life since. To me, Kobe was even more exceptional because he learned from his mistakes and devoted himself to being a better person."

"Few have that kind of strength, courage, or commitment," Abdul-Jabbar continued. "We can love and respect Kobe without canonizing him as perfect. Death often immortalizes the ideal rather than the real. But it was the real Kobe, flaws and all, that we should love."

In closing, the Dancing With the Stars alum wrote that "Kobe would not have appreciated the attacks against Gayle King because he know they perpetuated a climate of disrespect that would be physically, mentally, and socially harmful toward all women, including his wife and daughters."

When King asked Leslie if the WNBA legend thought the allegations against Bryant complicated his legacy at all, Bryant fans — including Snoop and 50 — reacted with vitriol, saying it was inappropriate for King to bring up the old charge so soon after Bryant's sudden death on Jan. 26.

King herself admitted that the way the interview was framed "mortified" her, saying that it was taken out of context. CBS News admitted that it made a mistake. Days later, King's close friend Oprah Winfrey revealed that King had been subjected to death threats and had to travel with security.

In an Instagram video shared Wednesday, Snoop Dogg unequivocally apologized to King.

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"Had a talk with my momma," he wrote in the caption. "Two wrongs don't make it right. Time to heal, [Gayle King]. Peace [and] love. Praying for [you] and your family as well as Vanessa and the kids."

Photo credit: Allen Berezovsky / Contributor / Getty