Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Says Donald Trump Won't Be Our Next President

September 29th 2015

Kyle Jaeger

NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been an active voice in American politics, sharing his thoughts on everything from the Kim Davis controversy to the 2016 presidential election. And in a recent interview with Business Insider, he followed up on comments he made about GOP front-runner Donald Trump, explaining why he does not think that the candidate will advance to the presidency.

​Abdul-Jabbar said that there is a difference between talking about the problems the U.S. faces and putting together actionable solutions to these problems. Though Trump might be successful in tapping into the frustrations that many Americans have regarding immigration and unemployment, for example, his proposed policy solutions to these issues are unrealistic.

"I think that we won't know what Mr. Trump is about until he starts specifically saying what his policies would be if he were to be elected to office, and that is the one thing he avoids speaking about at all costs," Abdul-Jabbar said. "It's very nice to come out with sound bites that sound attractive to a whole lot of dissatisfied people who want you to be elected, but they still don't understand what exactly it is that you're going to do."

The basketball champion and author offers an example: the Trump wall. Asked what he would do to curb illegal immigration, Trump said that he planned to build a Great Wall of China-inspired barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border—a "solution" that Abdul-Jabbar described as "something that will never happen, something that is totally unfeasible."

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"It's statements like that that are irresponsible and way off base that make me feel that he can't last as a viable candidate," he added.

He could be right, too. While Trump has earned a lot of media attention since he began to rise in the polls this summer, there are other examples of presidential candidates surging early on only to fade away later in the campaign, as the New Yorker noted. Herman Cain, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum have also experienced similar trajectories in the past.

"The struggle of the second act in a political campaign, as in any drama, is that the problem identified at the beginning—the one that seized our attention—must be translated into the more mundane tasks that propel the protagonist toward his or her goal," the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza wrote, echoing Abdul-Jabbar's point. "Won't even the most committed Trump supporter start to wonder why this self-proclaimed savior hasn’t prepared himself to answer standard policy questions?"