Comedy legend Jimmie Walker said Colin Kaepernick and other professional athletes need to stop getting political and complaining so much.
Walker told TMZ about how he doesn’t admire today’s athletes.
“The thing that upsets me the most about NBA players is they’re so upset. They’re so angry.”
He then names Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant and their unhappiness, despite having multimillion-dollar salaries.
“What are you upset about? I’m happy if I’m making that kind of money. But they always are complaining.”
Jimmie Walker told TMZ that he used to aspire to be a professional athlete, and says he played alongside NBA Hall of Fame inductee Nate “Tiny” Archibald.
Archibald played professional basketball from 1970 to 1984, and won a championship with the Boston Celtics in 1981, according to NBA History.
Walker told TMZ that today’s NBA players are bitter today because they are living in an illusion propped up by their exclusive lifestyles. He says past athletes still at least rode in the same planes as regular people.
“They don’t understand what it’s like to be in real life.”
Walker also talked about today’s professional athletes commenting on political matters, especially after the controversy resulting from Nike pulling a sneaker with a patriotic design from store shelves after an apparent complaint by Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback who can no longer find work in the NFL.
“I don’t think they should be political at all. First of all, I think that when you’re making $150 million dollars a year, people don’t want to hear your political views. You have no political views at all,” Walker told TMZ.
“They’ll get angry with me for saying that, but they should have no political views. They should be very happy and say ‘I’m doing good,’” Walker added.
Walker recommends that basketball players, instead of complaining publicly, donate to charity or do charity events. He said they should only express that they are fortunate, lucky, and happy to be in the positions that they are in.
He said that when they do otherwise it creates unnecessary ill feelings with the public.
“You’re polarizing people. You are offending people who are working, who are making $40, $50 grand a year, and you’re making that in a couple of games or a game …” Walker told TMZ.
When TMZ specifically asked Walker about the shoe Nike took off store shelves, and told him that the reason was because the old-style American flag on the shoe references a period in time when Americans held slaves, he responded both humorously and poignantly.
“I’ve never seen a slave pull up to an arena in a 2020 Mercedes-Benz. So when you see a slave pull up to the back of an arena in a 2020 Mercedes-Benz let me know.”
Walker is best known for his role as “J.J.” on 1970s sitcom “Good Times.” The role came after his rise as a stand-up comedian. According to his website, Time Magazine granted him the title “Comedian of the Decade” for the 1970s.
Walker’s connection to professional sports started early, perhaps before his comedy and acting pursuits began.
Walker told PIX11 that he grew up near Yankee Stadium, and worked there for five or six years as a food vendor. Once he was old enough, he had more options of what he could sell.
“And then as I became an adult, I sold beer, which was one of the highlights of my career, selling beer at Yankee Stadium,” Walker told PIX11 earlier this year, before a game at Yankee Stadium.