FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images
NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar took movie star Will Smith at his word when Smith apologized for slapping comedian Chris Rock at the Academy Awards.
Smith uploaded a video apology Friday.
“There is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment,” he said. “There’s no part of me that thinks that’s the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insults.”
Abdul-Jabbar wrote Saturday he doesn’t believe Smith is merely attempting to rehabilitate his image.
“I’m going to look at his words and accept that they are sincere and honest,” he said. “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.”
The Hall of Famer added he’s “rooting” for Smith.
Smith took exception to a joke Rock made about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, during the show. He walked onto the stage and slapped Rock. Smith returned to his seat and won the Best Actor Oscar for King Richard later in the show.
The condemnation of the 53-year-old was instantaneous, with Abdul-Jabbar among the critical voices.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences banned Smith from any of its official events, including the Oscars, for 10 years. Projects of which he was a part were placed on hold indefinitely as well.