Abdul-Jabbar, in a column for the website of Time magazine last week, said he was looking forward to the day when “these terrorists praising the Prophet (Mohammed) or Allah’s name as they debase their actual teachings are instantly recognized as thugs disguising themselves as Muslims.”

He added to CNN that poverty or lack of opportunities in education are factors in people committing such acts.

“They become radicalized by the lack of opportunity and anything in their future that has any promise,” he said. “They embrace violence. They try to use religion as something to justify that. But nothing justifies that.”

As someone who was in the public eye through sports, Abdul-Jabbar feels sports can play a role in bringing people from different backgrounds together.

“Sport absolutely plays a part in that,” he said. “When you spend all of your time trying to develop the talent for a sport and you see people doing the same thing from a different culture and you have the same interests, there’s common ground there.