Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Is a Surprisingly Astute TV Critic

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It seems like everyone has an opinion on Lena Dunham and Girls, so it wasn't a terrible surprise to see Kareem Abdul-Jabbar post a thoughtful critique of the show on The Huffington Post. Oh wait, yes it was. It's not just because the basketball legend is a stranger to blogging. He's written a number of things for HuffPost, most of them about politics. Abdul-Jabbar has not, however, written a thing since his "Coppertone Politics" post three years ago. And now he's hung up on an HBO show for hipsters? That's pretty curious.

What's more curious, however, that Abdul-Jabbar's piece is pretty good! It starts out with a notably well researched look at the show's demographics, and the next think you know the Hall of Famer is dropping Brett Easton Ellis references and talking about race in America. Abdul-Jabbar -- or whomever wrote this because, come on, everybody knows not all celebrities write their own blog posts -- has clearly seen every episode and clearly has some strong opinions about what's right and wrong with the show. Again, watching a show and writing about it does not a television critic make. But once you start waxing nostalgic about Wonderfalls, the somewhat obscure Fox drama that lasted one season but developed a cult-like following, and talking about "the audience's desperation for a generational voice," we're paying attention.

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People seemed most enthusiastic about the section on how white the show is. That's not a new critique -- Anna North had a great post on the whiteness of Girls on The New Yorker's website almost a year ago -- but Abdul-Jabbar certainly breathes some life into it:

Last season the show was criticized for being too white. Watching a full season could leave a viewer snow blind. This season that white ghetto was breached by a black character who is introduced as some jungle fever lover, with just enough screen time to have sex and mutter a couple of lines about wanting more of a relationship. A black dildo would have sufficed and cost less.

Of course, readers would flock to Twitter anytime they see the phrase "black dildo" on a major news website. The fact that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wants to write about what the youngs are watching* is also reason enough to click the link to his post. It's like a bonus prize that it reads pretty well. It's certainly not New Yorker-level criticism nor is it Richard Lawson-level, but we commend Kareem for his efforts. Can't wait to hear what he thinks of Downton Abbey this season.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.