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

by August 28, 2012

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 “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.'”