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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Says Quentin Tarantino's Depiction of Bruce Lee Is 'Sloppy & Somewhat Racist'

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is not happy with Quentin Tarantino‘s representation of Bruce Lee in his latest film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

The 72-year-old former basketball player penned a piece for THR on Friday (August 16) explaining his stance.

“Filmmakers have a responsibility when playing with people’s perceptions of admired historic people to maintain a basic truth about the content of their character. Quentin Tarantino’s portrayal of Bruce Lee in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood does not live up to this standard. Of course, Tarantino has the artistic right to portray Bruce any way he wants. But to do so in such a sloppy and somewhat racist way is a failure both as an artist and as a human being,” he wrote.

Bruce Lee was my friend and teacher. That doesn’t give him a free pass for how he’s portrayed in movies. But it does give me some insight into the man,” he went on to say.

“I was in public with Bruce several times when some random jerk would loudly challenge Bruce to a fight. He always politely declined and moved on. First rule of Bruce’s fight club was don’t fight — unless there is no other option. He felt no need to prove himself. He knew who he was and that the real fight wasn’t on the mat, it was on the screen in creating opportunities for Asians to be seen as more than grinning stereotypes. Unfortunately, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood prefers the good old ways.”

Bruce Lee‘s daughter also had words for Quentin Tarantino. See what she said!

Shannon Lee Reacts to Quentin Tarantino's Comments About Her Dad Bruce Lee: 'Shut Up'

Shannon Lee is reacting to Quentin Tarantino‘s assessment of her late father, Bruce Lee.

The 50-year-old daughter of the iconic martial arts actor responded to Quentin‘s comments about Bruce‘s portrayal in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (“Bruce Lee was kind of an arrogant guy,” he said during a press junket) with a statement of her own about the director.

“He could shut up about it. That would be really nice. Or he could apologize or he could say, ‘I don’t really know what Bruce Lee was like. I just wrote it for my movie. But that shouldn’t be taken as how he really was,’” she told Variety.

“One of the things that’s troubling in his response is that, on the one hand, he wants to put this forward as fact and, on the other hand, he wants to stay in fiction,” she also said.

“[Tarantino] can portray Bruce Lee however he wanted to, and he did. “But it’s a little disingenuous for him to say, ‘Well this is how he was, but this is a fictional movie, so don’t worry too much about it.’”

Click here for more about Quentin Tarantino‘s defense of his “arrogant” portrayal of Bruce Lee in the movie.

Bruce Lee-Based Cinemax Series 'Warrior' Releases Trailer - Watch Now!

The trailer for Cinemax’s Warrior is here!

The upcoming television series, based on the creative writings of Bruce Lee, will debut on April 5.

Set against the backdrop of San Francisco’s Chinatown in the aftermath of the Civil War in 1878, Warrior tells the story of a young martial arts prodigy, newly arrived from China, who finds himself caught up in the bloody Chinatown Tong wars.

The series is produced by Fast & Furious director Justin Lin and also executive produced by Bruce‘s daughter, Shannon Lee.

[Lee] created a treatment which he then pitched to Warner Bros., and they said, ‘We’re really sorry, but we just don’t think that a Chinese man can be the lead of an American TV series. Audiences won’t go for it,’” Shannon explained of her father’s vision for a show, which is now being brought to life decades later.

The series stars Jason Tobin, Andrew Koji and Olivia Cheng.

Watch the trailer…