7 Prominent Muslim Athletes Donald Trump Conveniently Forgot, Including Perhaps The Greatest Boxer Of All Time
Donald Trump has never been concerned with accuracy, so why would he start now? During President Obama's statement from the Oval Office Sunday, in which he reiterated his plan to fight ISIS and urged Americans to resist discrimination against Muslims, Trump did what he does best: troll. While live-tweeting responses to the president's speech, Trump questioned Obama's comment about Muslim "sports heroes," suggesting that there aren't any, and even asking whether Obama was "profiling." It's yet another case for why the man should maybe hire a Googler to follow him everywhere he goes, because his suggestion is absolutely ridiculous. There is a long list of prominent Muslim-American athletes which Trump should maybe be familiar with.
Obama asked the country not to stigmatize all Muslim-Americans because of the actions of a few who abide by a perverted version Islam, reminding the people that Muslim-Americans are Americans, too:
Muslim Americans are our friends and our neighbors; our co-workers, our sports heroes — and, yes, they are our men and women in uniform who are willing to die in defense of our country. We have to remember that.
It's an important message, and aims to prevent widespread discrimination and ultimately end the radicalization process that preys on isolated and persecuted Muslims.
However, Trump ignored that message and instead focused on Obama's mention of Muslim-American "sports heroes," tweeting this:
"Who"?? Really, Trump? Perhaps you forgot about all the times you played up your friendship with Muhammad Ali, who is arguably the greatest boxer in history (and a Muslim) in order to make yourself seem cooler. And he's just one of the Muslim-American athletes whom you conveniently forgot about. Here are seven of the most prominent examples.
You don't earn the nickname "The Greatest" for no reason. Muhammad Ali is considered by many to be the, well, greatest boxer of all time, having won 56 of 61 fights over the course of his career. Ali was also known for his civil rights activism and his opposition to the Vietnam War. He converted to Sunni Islam in 1975, after aligning himself with the Nation of Islam movement in the '60s.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a legendary NBA player who played for a total of six championship teams. In 1996, he was named one of the 50 Greatest NBA Players in History by the NBA. Even before Trump's latest tweet, Abdul-Jabbar has been vocal about his dislike for the GOP candidate. In September, he penned an op-ed in The Washington Post which outlined the many ways in which Trump is nothing more than a bully who spouts a constant stream of lies. Basketball legend and astute political commentator? That's impressive.
This is another athlete who needs no introduction. Like Ali, Mike Tyson is one of boxing's all-time greats, and though his legacy has been marred by a rape conviction (Trump had actually tried to help prevent him from going to prison) and an ear-biting incident, he has helped define modern boxing. Tyson converted to Islam in the '90s, and has discussed his reasons for this in several interviews.
Many people might not know this, but Shaquille O'Neal — better known as Shaq — practices Islam. He has rarely discussed his religious beliefs in public, but in a 2010 interview, he revealed that he plans on making his pilgrimage to Mecca one day. As for his sports status, he's won numerous MVP awards, and remains one of the most well-known NBA players in history.
He might not be a household name, but Dominique Easley is a defensive tackle for one of the top teams in the NFL, the New England Patriots. After joining the team in the 2014 NFL Draft, Easley accomplished the rare feat of winning the Super Bowl in his first year as a pro player.
Larry Johnson was a power forward for the Charlotte Hornets and the New York Knicks, and once signed the most lucrative NBA contract in history (at the time): a 12-year deal for $84 million. A 1999 New York Times article details Johnson's diet as a devout Muslim.
Still active today, Bernard Hopkins is known for being a highly effective defensive boxer. His impressive abilities have earned him the nicknames "The Executioner" and "The Alien." Hopkins converted to Islam in the '80s, after serving almost five years in prison for multiple felonies. He even slammed a reporter after 9/11, saying, "We are not all the same type of Muslims."