Once Upon A Time In Hollywood: Kareem Abdul Jabbar BASHES Quentin Tarantino for racist portrayal of Bruce Lee

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who worked with Bruce Lee in his unfinished film, The Game of Death (1973), wrote an op-ed criticising Quentin Tarantino's '"sloppy" and "racist" portrayal of the late legendary actor and martial artist. Read what the legendary basketball player had to say on the same.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar worked with Bruce Lee in his unfinished film, The Game of Death (1973).Kareem Abdul-Jabbar worked with Bruce Lee in his unfinished film, The Game of Death (1973).
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One of the most controversial talking points from Quentin Tarantino's ninth directorial, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, was the sequence between Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) and legendary actor and martial artist Bruce Lee (played by Mike Moh) that takes place on the sets of The Green Hornet. Quentin's portrayal of Bruce Lee did not sit down too well with daughter Shannon Lee, who shared that she found it disheartening to see the entire theatre laughing at her father during the sequence.

On the other hand, Tarantino countered that Bruce Lee "was kind of an arrogant guy." However, bashing the Oscar-winning director is legendary basketball player and Bruce's unfinished film The Game of Death (1973) co-star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who was also a good friend of Lee. In an op-ed piece for The Hollywood Reporter, Kareem spoke about how "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," and that Quentin's portrayal of Bruce Lee in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood did not live up to the expectations.

"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," Jabbar added.

While confessing that Quentin is one of his favourite filmmakers for being "bold, uncompromising and unpredictable," Kareem shared how disappointing he found Bruce Lee's scene in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, "not so much on a factual basis, but as a lapse of cultural awareness."

ALSO READ: Quentin Tarantino on Bruce Lee's portrayal in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood: He was kind of an arrogant guy

Jabbar also revealed that, on many public occasions, when a random person would loudly challenge Bruce to a fight the actor had always politely declined and moved on. "First rule of Bruce’s fight club was don’t fight — unless there is no other option," Kareem stated while adding, "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."

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