POLITICS
02/07/2016 01:42 pm ET

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Is Warning Americans About Donald Trump

"Encouraging religious discrimination will definitely not make America great."

Donald Trump's dominance may have deflated a bit since the Iowa caucus, but the Republican presidential candidate's staying power is still concerning enough for a famously private sports great to speak out. 

Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar called Trump's ideas and proposals -- which include banning Muslims from the U.S. and shutting down mosques -- "illegal and immoral" during a pre-taped Sunday appearance on CNN's political affairs program "GPS." 

"I thought what he had to say was outrageous. It certainly contradicts our Constitution, something that the president of the United States is obliged to uphold and defend," Abdul-Jabbar told host Fareed Zakaria. "And religious discrimination is not part of what America is supposed to be about." 

"Encouraging religious discrimination will definitely not make America great," Abdul-Jabbar added.  

Zakaria noted that for years, Abdul-Jabbar had been private about his personal beliefs, including his Muslim faith. The 68-year-old basketball legend was born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr., but changed his name several years after he converted to Islam in college. 

Abdul-Jabbar famously sparred with Trump back in September when he penned a Washington Post editorial criticizing Trump's "bullying" tactics with media and general gracelessness. 

Trump quickly hit back in a note to Abdul-Jabbar that accused the sports great of not having "a clue about life and what has to be done to make America great again!" ("The bully proves my point," Abdul-Jabbar wrote in a follow-up.) 

"I'm not interested in getting into the middle of the political melee going on right now," Abdul-Jabbar said, noting that he has no desire for a protracted feud with Trump.

Abdul-Jabbar also advised Americans to have the patience to seek out real, meaningful solutions rather than what he characterized as Trump's advocacy of simple, sweeping answers to actually complex problems. 

"I hope America wakes up and sees how dangerous it can be to indulge in these kinds of thoughts," he said.

Editor's Note: Donald Trump is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist, birther and bully who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims -- 1.6 billion members of an entire religion -- from entering the U.S.

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