Basketball Great Dumps on Leading Oscar Contender ‘La La Land’

Feb 15, 2017  •  Post A Comment

At least one prominent personality is not climbing aboard the “La La Land” bandwagon as the musical closes in on the Oscars as the heavy favorite.

In a piece written for The Hollywood Reporter by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA legend and culture critic talks of a “rift in American pop culture that is nearly as contentious as the rift in American politics,” and writes: “As someone who finds ‘La La Land’ bold, daring and deserving of all its critical and financial success, I can also admit that there are a few elements that warrant closer examination, particularly regarding its portrayal of jazz, romance and people of color. In fact, the better a work of art is, the more we must dissect it, because now we’re not just measuring Rotten Tomatoes popularity or boffo box office, we’re assessing its proper place in our cultural canon.”

Jabbar takes issue in particular with one plot point — we won’t give it away, but encourage you to click here to read the piece on THR if you won’t be bothered by a spoiler. The six-time NBA champ says the twist is “a distasteful one for African-Americans,” and concludes that it “sends a bigoted message rippling through our society.”


  1. Well, I really don’t have to “click hear” to find out what Kareem’s gripe is. I can guess what it is, just like I could guess what shot he was going to take when he got a pass after posting up…
    “The movie portrayed black people in an unfair and poor light.” On the basketball court, Kareem could dominate with pretty much just one shot (the skyhook). Unfortunately, on the basketball court of IDEAS, you have to have more than one shot to make the team.

  2. Kareem is correct about the portrayal of blacks and also about the film. Greg Hines, Debbie Reynolds and many others could dance circles around the actors in this movie. However, it is the correct pick so everyone will vote for it. Sing Street was a much better musical with a more exciting story. And Hidden Figures is the best movie of the year.

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