Former NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar penned a powerful op-ed, published in the Los Angeles Times, Sunday, regarding the death of George Floyd and the protests being held across the country.

KAreem, Abdul-Jabbar, George Floyd, Op-EdDominik Magdziak / Getty Images

“African Americans have been living in a burning building for many years, choking on the smoke as the flames burn closer and closer,” he wrote. “Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible — even if you’re choking on it — until you let the sun in. Then you see it’s everywhere.”

TheĀ Hall of Famer defended the protesters and spoke about the systemic racism inherent in all levels of our society.

“The black community is used to the institutional racism inherent in education, the justice system and jobs. And even though we do all the conventional things to raise public and political awareness — write articulate and insightful pieces in the Atlantic, explain the continued devastation on CNN, support candidates who promise change — the needle hardly budges,” he says.

“So, maybe the black community’s main concern right now isn’t whether protesters are standing three or six feet apart or whether a few desperate souls steal some T-shirts or even set a police station on fire, but whether their sons, husbands, brothers and fathers will be murdered by cops or wannabe cops just for going on a walk, a jog, a drive. Or whether being black means sheltering at home for the rest of their lives because the racism virus infecting the country is more deadly than COVID-19,” he continued.

Check out Abdul-Jabbar’s full piece here.