February 21, 2013 6:17am PT by Jordan Zakarin
After 'Girls,' Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Takes Criticism Tour to 'Conan' (Video)
Forget the Emmys and Oscars; earning a thumbs up from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has become the ultimate sign of artistic merit.
The former Laker and NBA's all-time leading scorer turned heads several weeks ago when he posted a review of Lena Dunham's HBO hit Girls; it took several measured shots at what he deemed to be self-indulgent characters and unsatisfactory racial equality. Then, earlier this week, he wrote a review of Django Unchained that was equal parts praise and takedown, calling it a wonderful movie that he recommends seeing, but still a "B-movie" that did not deserve a best picture nomination.
Now firmly entrenched in the world of endless online opinionating -- America's number-one export -- Abdul-Jabbar appeared on Conan on Wednesday to evaluate several other cultural touchstones.
Silver Linings Playbook, he says, was "pretty good." The "Mona Lisa," he insists, is evidence of lazy painting, and "good, not great." As for whole wheat Fig Newtons, their fiber content is too fleeting and inaccessible, a case of good intentions limited by the cheapness of contemporary processed food.
While the sketch on Conan was in jest, Abdul-Jabbar's academic and cultural expertise does exceed that of most professional athletes -- and the population at large. He is a best-selling author, having penned books about the Harlem Renaissance and World War II's all-black armored tank battalion. He also once fought Bruce Lee in a movie.
Also to be noted: Former baseball star Jose Canseco disagrees with Abdul-Jabbar re: Django, as he told THR that it was the "best movie of the century" thus far.