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Tuesday, August 28th, 2012 at 10:48 am  |  62 responses

Lakers to Construct Statue of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Outside Staples Center


At some point during the 2012-13, the Los Angeles Lakers will erect a statue of NBA legend and all-time scoring leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar outside the team’s arena. The Laker great will join Magic Johnson, Chick Hearn, Jerry West, Wayne Gretzky and Oscar De La Hoya as those honored with statues at the Staples Center. Although this is a great honor, for many fans and Abdul-Jabbar himself, the commemoration seems a bit overdue. Via ESPN.com: “While Abdul-Jabbar’s on-court accomplishments were no-doubt stellar, racking up six championships and six MVPs during his 20-year career, his relationship with the Lakers had become strained in recent years. The team cut ties with Abdul-Jabbar as a special assistant following the 2010-11 season and the former 19-time All-Star also voiced his frustration at Jerry West receiving a statue before he did, after West’s statue was unveiled during the 2011 NBA All-Star weekend in Los Angeles. ‘I don’t understand (it). It’s either an oversight or they’re taking me for granted,’ Abdul-Jabbar told The Sporting News at the time. ‘I’m not going to try to read people’s minds, but it doesn’t make me happy. It’s definitely a slight. I feel slighted.’ Shortly after Abdul-Jabbar’s remarks to the magazine became public, Lakers spokesman John Black told The Sporting News that Abdul-Jabbar had been informed by the team that he would be the next player to receive a statue in his honor. ‘When you look at what (owner Jerry Buss) did for Earvin (Johnson) and what he did for me, big disparity there,’ Abdul-Jabbar said. ‘I just think that it’s a mindset that’s taken over in the organization that I’m of minimal value to the organization and they’re doing other things. … They just don’t seem to want to include me in the way they have included other people.’”

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  • Max

    Finally he gets his..

  • JML-G

    bout damn time

  • Dagger

    Kareem needs to learn to keep quiet in public. He deserves this, but his public moaning about it have made him much less likable to many people.

  • bike

    To save a buck or two, they plan on modifying the Paterno statue to Kareem’s likeness.

  • http://twitter.com/_DFrance DFrance

    He was already disliked by many because of his icy demeanor, especially with the media.

  • http://twitter.com/_DFrance DFrance

    Yes his numbers are deserving of a statue, but Magic was the face of the Showtime Lakers I don’t see how he feels he should be treated equally.

  • flea

    better be of him doing a sky hook..

  • alex80

    Shite!! Can We expect a Kobe statue in 10 years…..make him dusting off

  • flea

    Magic’s statue looks more like Danny Glover smh. How to memorialize Kap? Either a giant skyhook, or a 10ft frowning bust!

  • http://www.facebook.com/bee.ball.5437 Bee Ball

    How many NBA Titles has Magic won without Kareem?

  • http://www.facebook.com/bee.ball.5437 Bee Ball

    You aren’t honored with a statue as an athletic icon for being nice. You are honored
    with a statue for your work and his body of work on the basketball court in Los Angeles is legendary.
    3 titles with UCLA
    5 titles with the Lakers
    No athlete in the history of Los Angeles sports can make that claim.
    He should’ve been 1st in line for a statue.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    how many seasons did Magic play without Kareem?
    Kareem was really great for LA, but he was at his best before he got there.

  • http://twitter.com/_DFrance DFrance

    The same amount Kareem has won without a HOF guard 0. When you think Showtime Lakers, who immediately comes to mind?

  • http://twitter.com/_DFrance DFrance

    I don’t disagree with any of that, the problem is, the stat book can’t erect a statue. He rubbed the powers that be the wrong way and that’s what has led to the delay. Nothing to do with his numbers. If he didn’t go on that complaint tour last year, he still might not be getting one.

  • Junior Taylor

    Kareem was by far a better player in MIL without Magic.

  • 1982

    It’ll probably look more like James Worthy. None of these athlete statues look like the athletes.

  • Caboose

    MJ’s looks pretty good….

  • LakeShow

    This is why they don’t respect you Kareem!!!

  • flea

    @Bee Ball KAJ got 5 rings with the Lakers but Magic won 5 rings as a Laker. I say won because Kareem didn’t go out and win that 80′ chip, Magic did as a rook. That was his team. Kareem’s over all career accomplishments might be the best of any player period, but if we’re talking strictly about Laker careers Magic is at the top as the greatest “Laker” so he deserved to be honored first.

  • Caboose

    Funny how Like Mike ripped off that story.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bee.ball.5437 Bee Ball

    Honestly, I truly believe that because he rubbed the powers that be the wrong way, they would have been content with waiting until he passed away to honor his accomplishments. (Posthumously)
    I know that’s a cold and harsh statement, but that’s the world in which we live.
    If you don’t play by our rules, we will diminish you and your rightful place in
    history.
    I’m not saying it’s right, I’m saying that it is REALITY.

  • http://www.newyorkshockexchange.com/content/view/424/37/ Shock Exchange

    LMAO. WTW? Given how the Lakers “really” feel about Kareem, they just might do it too. If you have the lobby the organization for statue then …

  • http://twitter.com/AjpDos Allen Powell

    Cap was a pioneer, but he needs to be honest. He didn’t smile and jive and make people comfortable like Magic. That was a choice he made, and part of his personality. When you make those sorts of choices, there will be consequences. Kareem also had some bad business dealings, so he needs the money that comes with fame and popularity more than cats like Oscar Roberston, Bill Russell and Magic Johnson, who have made some better decisions. But, look at Oscar. He isn’t popular and you don’t hear him complaining all the time about being slighted. He just rolls with it.

  • http://twitter.com/AjpDos Allen Powell

    Flea
    Kareem dominated that entire series and was the catalyst. Every one expected the Lakers to lose that series because Kareem got hurt in Game 5 or 6. Magic had a great game, but Kareem was the dominant player in that series before his injury.

  • http://twitter.com/AjpDos Allen Powell

    He was disliked because he was an intelligent black man who took unpopular racial stances during his era. And he was a member of the NOI. The icy demeanor part of it was on the back end. The other two issues were the big problem. Otherwise John Stockton and Tim Duncan would be hated by the media.

  • flea

    1980 finals?…..Magic lead the Lakers to the finals 9 times in 13 seasons, competed, won and lost against some of the greatest teams and players of all time including vs MJ and the Bulls in 90-91′ finals without Kap. Had the teams #1 scorer (James Worthy) as well as Byron Scott been healthy, who knows what the outcome would have been. So don’t front like Magic couldn’t do it without Kareem.

  • http://www.newyorkshockexchange.com/content/view/424/37/ Shock Exchange

    @Bee Ball Apparently that statement’s not true. Because Kareem was aloof during his playing days and pissed off fans, teammates and coaches. He had to beg to be a coach. He had to beg to have his likeness affixed to Joe Paterno’s statue … That’s also the reason why Rick Barry has no active role in the L.

  • http://twitter.com/_DFrance DFrance

    Kareem doesn’t want to “play the game” and but he wants to get all the perks playing the game gets you. Can’t always have it both ways.

  • http://twitter.com/_DFrance DFrance

    I think it really depends on your facial features, but I agree, a lot of them look bad.

  • flea

    Word up, he got the Bill Russell, Jim brown treatment. Back then being a black athlete and speaking your mind had consequences when it came to how you were portrayed by the media. His demeanor didn’t help, neither did playing alongside the biggest smile in la la land.

  • LakeShow

    When your ripping off Jim Varney movies… Just stop, and shoot your self in the head for obvious reasons.
    I loved those flicks as a kid though haha.

  • http://twitter.com/AjpDos Allen Powell

    I agree completely. Now, you can question whether people should have to play the game at all, but that’s a different discussion. Kareem knew that he could make some compromises earlier in his career, or he could deal with not making those compromises later. He chose the latter, and I salute him for that choice, but it rings false to then expect folks who don’t share your values to champion you. You don’t need that love.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bee.ball.5437 Bee Ball

    So both KAJ and Magic won 5 rings as Laker players, great!!! (KAJ 6, 1 with Milwaukee)
    I base my opinion on results, not someone’s personality or their standing with public relations.
    Thus is the issue, it’s not enough that you set a precedent that may never be matched.
    It’s the fact that KAJ chose to be true to himself instead of pretending to be something that he isn’t. (See Barry Sanders, Jim Brown, Bill Russell etc)
    Magic Johnson has the natural personality as well as physical abilitiy to dominate the game.
    I respect that about Magic Johnson, I also respect more so the willingness of KAJ to stand up for his personal convictions in paving the way for a Magic Johnson to be who he was and is today.
    I’m big on respecting and honoring past leaders!!!
    This isn’t a debate on who deserves this honor, its the fact that a sports icon who won
    8 titles in and for the city of Los Angeles (UCLA 3, Lakers 5) should have received this
    this honor long before 2012-13.

  • flea

    P’ True, Kap was the reigning MVP and his series avg 33pts and 13 rebs 4blks was dominant and put the Lakers in the position to win it. I don’t dispute that. I was responding to BBall implying that Magic never won or lead the Lakers to a chip without Kap. Factually he did. With the series on the line, As the leader of his team, Magic was dominant. 42′ 15′ and 8′ dominant. The first 5 games were close, But without Kap Magic lead the Lakers to victory in the only blow out. He delivered a title to LA without kap on the floor. My point is, that on the other hand, that’s Something kap never did. I didn’t mean to imply that Kap had nothing to do with wining that chip, (though after re-reading my post i did imply that, my bad) Kap had a dominant series, but when it came down to winning the series, capping off a series were he avg’d 21′ 11′ and 8′ Magic put it away, that can’t be disputed.

  • BlackPhantom

    About damn time

  • kris head

    bout time!

  • Redd

    Not late at all.

  • http://twitter.com/AjpDos Allen Powell

    No doubt, clearly your meaning didn’t come through when I read that initial comment.

  • http://www.newyorkshockexchange.com/content/view/424/37/ Shock Exchange

    Kareem was the Shock Exchange’s favorite player growing up; I practiced my Sky Hook repeatedly, and it later morphed into a “runner” or a “floater.” He is arguably the greatest player of all time the Laker org. is and his treamtent by the Laker org. is an embarrasment. The Shock Exchange’s question is “Why didn’t the Laker fans lobby for a statue on Kareem’s behalf. Ya’ll the first ones to come to Horry Jr’s defense and he doesn’t have 1/10 Kareem’s talent.

  • Junior Taylor

    Kareem should have had a statue outside of Staples before Magic and way before Gretzky.

  • Junior Taylor

    Great points but I still don’t understand what any of that has to do with KAJ’s long list of accomplishment on the hardwood. MJ was the biggest A-Hole of all time yet he is revered and had a statue outside of Chicago stadium long before he fully retired. If there was a Mount Rushmore of NBA players, KAJ would probably be the first or second player carved out in stone.

  • The Seed

    He deserves this, about time Lakers.

  • Caboose

    I still get goosebumps when Stan yells, “Ladies and Gentlemen…Michael Jordan.”

  • Caboose

    There are only two current players I think who are (as of now) deserving of a statue: Duncan and Kobe. Maybe Pierce. And before you LeBron nuts yell at me for this, he has no statue yet because we don’t know what team he will play his greatest years for. Or for how long.

  • Roscoe

    Laker fans never lobby for anything but the here and now. Haning banners and looking good is all LA is worried about. Btw, a statue of a living person is a mistake imo and the fact Angry Capt. Sky Hook was disgruntled about not getting it sooner is a red flag. Lastly, horry jr. has more than 1/10 of Kareem’s talent.

  • Roscoe

    when you work for someone you get on board or get out & kareem believes he is owed.

  • Roscoe

    Do you live in LA? John Wooden is UCLA’s sports icon. Chick was beloved by LA. Magic’s smile and passion still lives on and he is an icon. LA see’s Shaq as someone who failed to give us more banners and lastly LA see’s the Angry sea Captain as a grump w/ lots of talent. Next time you go to staples see how many #33s you see. My money is on more pigeons sitting on KAJ statue out of respect for the other statues.

  • Roscoe

    Do you live in LA? John Wooden is UCLA’s sports icon. Chick was beloved by LA. Magic’s smile and passion still lives on and he is an icon. LA see’s Shaq as someone who failed to give us more banners and lastly LA see’s the Angry sea Captain as a grump w/ lots of talent. Next time you go to staples see how many #33s you see. My money is on more pigeons sitting on KAJ statue out of respect for the other statues.

  • Roscoe

    Asking for miracles never hurts.

  • shutup

    You know nothing of Hockey, stay in your lane. Go look at some Hockey stats then come back and we’ll talk.

  • shutup
  • datkid

    it was utterly surreal to see him on twitter whining about a statue. does he deserve it? w/o question. do i see why they haven’t gven him one? YES. at the same time tho, i really respect him for being an outspoken superstar black athlete when it wasn’t easy.

  • datkid

    I actually think oscar’s pretty pissed about it honestly… you see that article about him in grantland a while back?

  • Mark

    Good to see him finally get one with the Lakers greats.
    Here is a link to a Lakers/Clippers season preview. ussdu.com/RiBfr4

  • shockexchange

    @Roscoe Fair point on not lobbying for a statue. Kareem probably should have left the issue alone as well. But not to have had Jabbar as part of the Lakers organization sooner – that’s crazy. He has a lot to offer. Besides, no one has done mor for that organization.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    dude, he fought Bruce Lee on film and was the co-pilot in Airplane. I think that completely negates anything Shaq-like he may have done as an actor. Dude is an awesome screen presence.
    Oddly enough, the other day I heard he was complaining about not having a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame…

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Word, he was NOI? I always thought he was Sunni-Muslim. Did he convert to Sunni later in life like Muhammad Ali? That’s awesome.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    He completely deserves this–really shameful the Lakers waited this long. But to be honest, he doesn’t need this to affirm his greatness; everyone knows he’s a top 3 center of all time, if not the undisputed GCOAT.

  • Izz

    One of the best comments I’ve seen on Slam. Hahaha

  • SeanMagicJuan

    Has nothing to do with hockey but with timing. Gretzky didn’t even come to LA until 88 so Kareem should have had his statue way before Wayne. If you want to debate hockey stats go to NHL.com.

  • http://twitter.com/AjpDos Allen Powell

    He was initially NOI then he must have changed over. Maybe when Wallace took over and moved the group towards mainstream Islam.

  • shutup

    Magic was the face of those Championships, Kareem was the stud, Gretzky is the G.O.A.T. not arguing Hockey stats but to dismiss his career by saying…….”way before Gretzky”; is disrespectful. FYI Gretzky is the only player in the NHL to have his jersey number retired league wide, and he has the same amount of league MVP’s as Magic and Kareem combined, I think he earned his statue. You may not like or care about Hockey but respect is due.

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