CNN commentator Don Lemon has drawn criticism for implying that Nikki Haley, a Republican who has just announced her candidacy for the 2024 presidential election, isn’t in her prime at age 51.
“This whole talk about age makes me uncomfortable,” said Lemon. “I think it’s the wrong road to go down. She says people, you know, politicians are something if not in their prime. Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime, sorry. A woman is considered to be in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s.”
Lemon took to Twitter to elaborate on what exactly he meant while apologizing, and Los Angeles Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had a classy statement in response.
Don – we know your heart was in the right place.
I think you were referencing women being in their prime during their “reproductive years”.
Women are always in their “prime” because in my opinion, they get stronger, more courageous and more beautiful as they get older.
— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (@kaj33) February 16, 2023
Haley will be challenging former president Donald Trump for the GOP nomination. She recently proposed “mandatory mental competency tests” for politicians who are over 75 years of age, which would apply to both Trump and current commander-in-chief Joe Biden.
When it comes to someone whose prime extended well past what one would expect, Abdul-Jabbar rewrote the book back in the 1980s.
Even as he got into his late 30s, he was still a premier player.
Abdul-Jabbar won the NBA Finals MVP award in 1985 when the Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics for the first time in the championship series. In that series, he averaged 25.7 points on 60.4 percent shooting, 9.0 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game while going up against Hall of Famers Robert Parish and Kevin McHale.
The man known for the skyhook played 20 seasons at a time when doing so was unheard of, and he only showed his age at the very end of his career.
Since retiring, Abdul-Jabbar has done an admirable job of being a social activist, not just when it comes to civil rights for Black individuals, but he has also advocated for various causes across the social justice landscape.
He became the NBA’s all-time leading career scorer in 1984, surpassing Wilt Chamberlain, and that record stood until last week when LeBron James surpassed it.
Abdul-Jabbar showed great class during the event, as he appeared at center court with James as he was being honored at Crypto.com Arena.