Royce Young(Eye On Basketball)
LOS ANGELES – I was in Los Angeles for Jerry West’s statue unveiling and it was quite the scene. A ton of former legends all gathered into a spot to honor one of the all-time great Lakers. It was two hours of pretty much talking about how great Jerry West was.
I’m sure it was pretty nice.
And Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, would like that moment too. Via the Sporting News, Kareem is feeling overlooked.
“I don’t understand (it),” he said. “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.”
I can’t imagine it being either because how can you overlook him or take him for granted. Let’s recap here: Again, the all-time leading scorer, a 19-time All-Star (!), six-time champion (five with the Lakers), three national titles at UCLA and he’s widely considered one of the top five players of all time. How you could overlook or take that for granted is pretty incredible.
It’s got to be a bigger issue like, “they just haven’t gotten to it yet.”
Kareem’s also issued this statement through his business manager: “I am highly offended by the total lack of acknowledgment 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.”
Kareem’s statue wouldn’t take a brilliant creative mind to come up with though. Everyone knows his infamous skyhook pose. That would definitely look pretty sweet standing in bronze outside of the arena.
Currently, there are five statues outside of the Staples Center: Magic Johnson, Jerry West, legendary team announcer Chick Hearn, boxer Oscar De La Hoya and hockey great Wayne Gretzky.
Lakers spokesman John Black gave a response: “We’ve been at Staples Center 11 years and have two ex-players who have statues now. It’s not like we do it every year; we have no timetable. Whenever we do the next statue of the third Los Angeles Lakers player, it (will be) Kareem—and he has been told that. Again, we didn’t say when that was going to be. It could be next year, the year after or several years from now.”
See, that’s what I’m saying. I don’t think it’s so much an oversight as it’s just that they picked Magic Johnson and Jerry West first to do. Kareem can be offended by that, but that’s kind of hard to argue with.
Kareem added to things, tweeting this: “Rumor has it that I will be getting a statue. A caveat for all my fans-don’t hold your breath. Lakers don’t care about me.” Lakers don’t care about you? Yeesh.
It seems like Kareem’s outrage might put the Lakers in an awkward position now. Like since he complained about it and got his way, are other players going to? What about Shaq, does he deserve one? James Worthy? Eddie Jones (kidding).
Now if they give Kobe a statue before Kareem, then he’ll really have a point.