Last year, the Lakers unveiled a life-sized bronze statue of Jerry West outside the Staples Center, joining other L.A. sports luminaries Magic Johnson, Chick Hearn, Wayne Gretzky, and Oscar De La Hoya. But one Lakers legend was nonplussed. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar asked the Sporting News, as politely as he could, where's my statue?
"I don't understand (it). It's either an oversight or they're taking me for granted. 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."
In a subsequent statement passed along by his business manager, Abdul-Jabbar said: "I am highly offended by the total lack of acknowledgement of my contribution to Laker success. I guess being the lynchpin for five world championships is not considered significant enough in terms of being part of Laker history."
The Lakers quickly rushed out a statement saying they can't just be putting up statues every week, otherwise they'd get to Luke Walton's before he even retires. But they promised that Abdul-Jabbar would be the next player so honored, whenever they got around to it.
Well, it's happening. The date hasn't been finalized, but at some point in the upcoming season the Staples Center will unveil a Kareem statue, presumably mid-skyhook. This is a mixed message to the children. If you complain when you don't get your way and also are the NBA's leading scorer, good things will happen.