Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is only days away from getting ready to cha cha on “Dancing with the Stars,” and he’s dishing details on who he sees as competition.
The all-athlete cast is stacked with people who will likely be strong dancing contenders, especially considering Mirai Nagasu, Adam Rippon and Tonya Harding are all figure skaters and have a heavy artistic and dancing background. The artistic nature of their sport requires them to take dance training, which is definitely different than Kareem’s basketball skillset.
But he told Access Live’s Natalie Morales and Kit Hoover that he’s not sweating the competition.
“Well, I’m not competing against Tonya in a way where she needs to break my legs so you know,” Kareem said as he laughed. “Tonya tries to get along with everybody. I found most of the people that I met in connection with this have been great. They’re friendly and we’re gonna go out there and have some fun with it.”
Tonya made headlines in 1994 after her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly arranged an attack on her competition, Nancy Kerrigan. The story and attack wrecked her figure skating career and also made her a pop culture icon.
So does Kareem believe the embattled figure skater deserves a second chance at the spotlight?
“Absolutely,” Kareem shared. “You know people make mistakes and when you understand her circumstances, it will affect how you deal with judging her. I don’t feel I try to judge anybody. I wish her success and hope she feels good about what she does, you know?”
“Dancing with the Stars: Athletes” premieres on Monday April 30 on ABC 8/7 central.
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