Kareem Abdul Jabbar calls Quentin Tarantino's use of Bruce Lee in 'Once Upon A Time In Hollywood' 'somewhat racist'

Gregory Wakeman
Contributor
American actor Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Chinese American martial artist and actor Bruce Lee on the set of Game of Death, written and directed by Robert Clouse. (Photo by Concord Productions Inc./Golden Harvest Company/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has launched a scathing attack on Quentin Tarantino for his depiction of his friend and Game Of Death co-star Bruce Lee in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.

Abdul-Jabbar wrote a piece for The Hollywood Reporter that called the Oscar-winning filmmaker’s take on the beloved actor “sloppy and somewhat racist.”

Read More: Quentin Tarantino defends the portrayal of Bruce Lee in 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'

The Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers legend expected much better from Tarantino, writing, “I attend each Tarantino film as if it were an event, knowing that his distillation of the ‘60s and ‘70s movies will be much more entertaining than a simple homage.”

This is why Abdul-Jabbar was ultimately do disappointed in what Tarantino delivered with Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, especially when it came to Mike Moh’s take on Bruce Lee, who insisted he could beat Muhammad Ali in a fight and then lost to Brad Pitt’s Cliff Booth.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - AUGUST 07: Quentin Tarantino attends the premiere of the movie "Once Upon a time in Hollywood" at Oktyabr cinema hall on August 7, 2019 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Gennady Avramenko/Epsilon/Getty Images)

“That’s why it disturbs me that Tarantino chose to portray Bruce in such a one-dimensional way. The John Wayne machismo attitude of Cliff (Brad Pitt), an aging stuntman who defeats the arrogant, uppity Chinese guy harks back to the very stereotypes Bruce was trying to dismantle,” continued Abdul-Jabbar.

Read More: Bruce Lee's former protégé speaks out over legend's treatment in Tarantino's new movie

“Of course the blonde, white beefcake American can beat your fancy Asian chopsocky dude because that foreign crap doesn’t fly here. I might even go along with the skewered version of Bruce if that wasn’t the only significant scene with him, if we’d also seen a glimpse of his other traits, of his struggle to be taken seriously in Hollywood. Alas, he was just another Hey Boy prop to the scene.”

Abdul-Jabbar is just the latest of Lee’s family and friends to criticise Tarantino’s use of Lee in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, as Lee’s daughter Shannon recently admitted she was disgusted that the film made him look like an “arrogant a**hole.”

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is now in UK cinemas.