Kareem went after MJ during an event in D.C. last week for an incident that went down back in '92 ... when Jordan reportedly refused to help black democrat Harvey Gantt in his campaign to unseat racist republican senator Jesse Helms because "Republicans buy sneakers, too."
Kareem said, "You can’t be afraid of losing shoe sales if you’re worried about your civil and human rights. [Jordan] took commerce over conscience. It’s unfortunate for him, but he’s gotta live with it."
But Ron isn't buying what Kareem is selling -- claiming MJ is a "very conscientious kind of guy."
"He may not come out and tell the world [what his values are] ... but he's one of the smartest guys I've ever been around."
"Some of the stuff he do may not get on TV on camera like some other athletes like to portray themselves as, conscientious Americans, but my boy MJ ... he knows what he's doing in life. Michael Jordan is caring."