Sports

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Says Soccer Doesn't Express 'American Ethos'

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Millions of Americans have been watching the World Cup on TV and online over the past couple of weeks.

About 25 million viewers watched the U.S. play Portugal last Sunday, reported Deadline.com.

According to Variety, 3.2 million people watched online when the U.S. played Germany last Thursday, making it one of "the most-streamed sports event in the U.S. to date."

However, NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar recently claimed that soccer “doesn’t fully express the American ethos as powerfully as our other popular sports” and will therefore never be popular in the long run.

In an op-ed for TIME, Abdul-Jabbar writes:

We are a country of pioneers, explorers, and contrarians who only need someone to say it can’t be done to fire us up to prove otherwise. As a result, we like to see extraordinary effort rewarded. The low scoring in soccer frustrates this American impulse. We also celebrate rugged individualism, the democratic ideal that anybody from any background can become a sports hero.

However, low scoring happens all the time in American baseball and hockey.

Abdul-Jabbar continued to claim how soccer is somehow contrary to individual achievement.

We like to see heroes rise, buoyed by their teammates, but still expressing their own supreme individual skills. Certainly soccer has its celebrated stars, from Pele to Beckham, but those skills seem muted on TV where we’re often looking at small figures on a large field and therefore these feats appear less impressive than they really are.

In football, basketball, baseball, and hockey, team effort is rewarded with points and individual greatness is as instant and immediate as a one-handed snagged football pass, a three-pointer from the corner, stealing home base, or a snap-shot of the puck into the goal.

Sources: Deadline.com, Variety, TIME

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